Singapore expert supports vaping regulation

Singapore expert supports vaping regulation

/ 08:39 PM June 11, 2024

Andrew da Roza, a qualified addiction psychotherapist and board member of the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association

Andrew da Roza, a qualified addiction psychotherapist and board member of the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association

MANILA, Philippines — A leading addiction specialist in Singapore is calling for the regulation of vape products instead of ban, arguing it would prevent youth use and provide smokers with a less harmful alternative.

Andrew da Roza, a qualified addiction psychotherapist and board member of the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association, said in a recent interview with CNA938, Singapore’s top news station, that regulation holds the key to eliminating the black market for vapes. “The vast majority of vapers are smokers, and they’re adults,” he said. “If you regulate it, then smokers can buy vapes from reputable retailers, and the black market will shrink.”


“We can see evidence in countries that have regulated vapes. You can see the difference in the black markets. Compared to countries that have regulated and have not – black market has evidently reduced in those that have regulated. So it’s very, very important we regulate,” he said.


READ: Vapes less harmful than smoking, evidence shows

Da Roza cited scientific literature showing that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes. He also disputed the notion that vaping is more harmful because the vapor travels deeper into the lungs.

“In fact, cigarettes have many toxins that stay in the lungs after being inhaled, while vapor does not,” he said.

Da Roza said studies have shown that quitting vaping is easier than quitting smoking. “Chemicals in cigarettes are more than just nicotine, and they contain other very dangerous chemicals,” he said. “Vaping does not have the same addictive qualities as smoking.”

Da Roza said vaping can help reduce smoke production, which is beneficial for the environment.

“In Britain, cigarette smokers are encouraged to switch to vaping to quit smoking, and vapes are even given out in hospitals in psychiatric clinics,” he said.


Da Roza suggested regulating vapes similar to alcohol and cigarettes to keep them out of the hands of children. He also said education campaigns based on scientific evidence are needed to inform youths about the risks of vaping.

“Vaping is not the same as smoking tobacco leaves or cigarettes, and it is definitely not as harmful,” da Roza said. “A well-regulated vaping option is the way forward in Singapore.”

In the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry announced that starting June 5, 2024, certification of imported and locally manufactured vape products is mandatory to ensure their safety and quality.

“No vape products should enter the country, especially if they do not bear product standard (PS) marks/license or ICC marks,” said DTI-Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Amanda Nograles.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue, meanwhile, has announced that effective June 1, 2024, the BIR’s Revenue Memorandum Circular 59-2024 mandated the use a new tax stamps to be affixed on all vape products sold in the country to curb the proliferation of unregulated vape products in the market.

Da Roza said what Singapore needs is “regulation so that we have liquids in Singapore that we know what’s in them, and we know that they’re the safest liquids available at the time and in the future.”

“It is possible to create a liquid that is as safe as nicotine replacement therapy, and they do exist. But we need to regulate that to make sure they exist here in Singapore.”

He said vaping should be legalized and regulated, similar to cigarettes, with a strict minimum age limit.

Da Roza said the current penalties are sufficient, but enforcement needs to be improved. “No one really gets punished for vaping in Singapore, to be honest,” he said. “Even though the numbers are high, it is still very apparent in Singapore.”

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“You do not want people to be criminalized,” he said.

TAGS: regulate, Singapore, vape

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