Cayetano asks Duterte: Veto vape bill
MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial aspirant and former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano urged President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the proposed vape bill, saying it poses a “clear and present danger” to the public.
Cayetano made the call after the Senate and the House of Representatives ratified the bicameral conference committee report seeking the regulation of vaporized nicotine (vape) and non-nicotine products as well as novel tobacco products.
This means that the measure now only needs the approval of Duterte.
According to Cayetano, the “dangerous piece of legislation” will promote addiction and lead to serious health problems.
“This will undoubtedly make it harder for the country’s estimated 17 million smokers to quit and may in fact encourage a deeper dependence on nicotine among our kababayans,” Cayetano said in a statement.
“If we want to safeguard the health of the public over the profit of a few business owners, then this is not the way to go,” he added.
Cayetano said that there is a provision in the measure that seeks to transfer the regulation of vaporized nicotine products from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“This practically turns the issue of nicotine abuse from a public health concern to a money-making endeavor for the government. Simply put, the DTI does not have the same expertise and experience to regulate these products as the FDA,” Cayetano said.
The former House speaker also hit the lowering of the minimum age requirement for vape users from 21 to 18 years old, pointing out that even senior high school students will now be able to avail of the product.
“I have always maintained that the Government must be here to do good and prevent evil. Instead of focusing on legislation that actively endangers the youth, my fellow lawmakers should instead be focusing on improving the lives and livelihoods of our kababayans. Clearly, the Vape Bill does not represent this objective,” Cayetano said.
“Again, I earnestly call on our President to continue to live up to his mission to protect the Filipino youth from anything that destroys their future,” he added.
The Senate version, dubbed as the proposed Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act, was adopted as the working draft during the bicam, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who led the Senate contingent.
“This bill is meant to regulate vaporized nicotine products, non-nicotine products, and novel tobacco products. It is expected to encourage a shift from smoking the unhealthier cigarettes to these alternatives less harmful products,” Recto said.
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