The Department of Health and the Food and Drug Adminstration are pushing for regulation of the use of e-cigarettes or vapes, including limiting their use to those who are 25 years old or older.
According to Susan Enriquez's report on "Balitanghali", health authorities moved to impose regulations on vaping in the wake of vape and e-cigarette-related accidents.
They also cited a Global Youth Tobacco Survey that showed that 11.7 percent of Filipino students aged 13 to 15 are using vapes or e-cigarettes.
In a recent forum, the FDA said individuals reach full maturity at age 25.
"So that's why DOH and FDA is recommending for this this age limit or minimum age po natin," the FDA's Jekee Bayan Miraflor said.
The proposed age limit was welcomed by several medical experts.
"Please protect our chldren. Nicotine in any form is damaging to the child's developing brain. Let's have a safe and clean environment for the children," Dr. Rizalina Raquel Gonzales of the Philipine Pediatrics Society said.
"It's not proven to be safe, so why should it be allowed in the market? We do the same thing naman po for other products," Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo of the
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance added.
However, Philippine Electronic Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) president Joey Dulay doubted that the FDA would stop at regulating the e-cigarette industry.
"Maraming nakikinabang dito, for reasons na iba-iba. Merong health reasons, merong sa negosyo, industriya, kaya bakit po natin pilit pinapatay itong industriya na 'to na, kumpara naman sa sigarilyo," he said.
Anna Trinidad Rivera, who heads the FDA's Center for Cosmetics, allayed these fears and maintained that the move to impose an age restriction on vapes is aimed to protect and promote the health of Filipinos.
"It has never been the intention of the Department of Health to kill the industry but rather, since part of our constitution is really to protect and to promote the health fo the Filipino people," Rivera said. —Margaret Claire Layug/NB, GMA News