Survey affirms Filipinos’ support for life-saving vape bill | Inquirer News

Survey affirms Filipinos’ support for life-saving vape bill

By: - Contributor / @inquirerdotnet
/ 11:08 PM January 06, 2022

Ninety-four percent Filipino respondents to a survey agree that the government should enact policies to encourage adult smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes prior to the Senate’s passage of the vape bill late last year.

Batasang Pambansa. (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Ninety-four percent Filipino respondents to a survey agree that the government should enact policies to encourage adult smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes prior to the Senate’s passage of the vape bill late last year.

ACORN Marketing & Research Consultants, the largest independent Asian research network with full-service offices in 11 Asian countries including the Philippines, also found in its survey involving 2,000 adult smokers that 90 percent believe the government should come up with new ways to reduce the harm caused by smoking cigarettes, while ensuring these products are not used by minors.


Meanwhile, senators overwhelmingly voted in favor of SB 2239 or the proposed Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act on December 16, 2021, noting that the measure can save lives of smokers and address the smoking epidemic in the country.


The House of Representatives approved its counterpart version—House Bill No. 9007 on May 25, 2021.  

The two bills will be reconciled by a bicameral conference committee and ratified it before submitting to the President for his signature.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, the main sponsor of SB 2239, said, “It is good public policy for people smoking to shift to these types [vaporized nicotine] of products” as “there will be less death and less expense on the part of society in treating patients.”

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he voted in favor of SB 2239 because he personally witnessed how heated tobacco enabled his brother to quit smoking. 

“I have a personal reason for voting yes. My brother was a heavy smoker for 45 years. When he switched to heated tobacco, he has stopped completely smoking and is very healthy,” he said.

“If vaporized nicotine products can help millions quit cigarette smoking, then I am willing to give it a chance,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said expressing hopes smoking will end in the country.


Senator Sonny Angara is optimistic that smoking addiction will be mitigated with the help of vaporized or vaping products. 

“There is anecdotal evidence to that effect from many personal colleagues, even from one of our colleagues. And I share the hope of our minority leader that we can eradicate the addiction to cigarette smoking because the health benefits are non-existent or definitely negative. In the hope that there is a better future for cigarette smokers and non-cigarette smokers out there, that’s why I vote for this bill,” Angara said.

Explaining his vote, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said, “Ang kalaban natin dito sigarilyo, ang kalaban natin dito tobacco sold in cigarette packs, ’yan ang kaaway natin Mr. President. We’re trying to look for alternatives for them. There’s an alternative, until they finally get off these gadgets, let’s give them an alternative to a better life.”

For Senator Richard Gordon, maturity requires that people learn to make decisions by themselves. He noted that the important thing is “proper information is given to people.” 

“I voted yes, simply because we want something like a withdrawal plan. There is no justification for smoking, and the only justification is free will. On the other hand, I have a lot of friends who have switched to vaping. And vaping is a soft landing for them,” he said. 

The Vape Bill is touted to reduce the smoking rate in the Philippines and provide 17 million Filipino smokers a way out of smoking through less harmful, smoke-free alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. 

It promotes a balanced policy toward the proper regulation of novel consumer products, using internationally-accepted product standards to protect citizens from the hazards of unregulated and substandard vapor and heated tobacco products being sold in the market.

The House of Representatives’ version declares as state policy “to consider harm reduction measures as public health strategy by ensuring that non-combustible alternatives to cigarettes are properly regulated.”

The Senate’s version acknowledges the jurisdiction of the Department of Trade and Industry, as the national standards body, over vaporized nicotine products.

Both versions of the bill have strong provisions that ensure minors will not have access to non-combustible alternatives with the same age restriction imposed on cigarettes.   

According to growing global consensus and scientific studies, non-combustible alternatives, such as electronic cigarettes and HTPs are less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

Studies show that it is the process of burning that releases harmful substances to the body, and not nicotine.

Results of the ACORN survey confirm the wide public support for tobacco harm reduction, or the public health strategy that supports the use of less harmful alternatives to combustible cigarettes such as e-cigarettes, HTPs and other smoke-free products.

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“Majority have positive perception, would consider to switch to e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, and would like to have greater access to accurate information about these products,” the ACORN study says.

TAGS: House of Representatives, Senate, vape, vape bill, vaping

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