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E-cig ban over single vape-related case baffling –anti-smoking advocate

Banning electronic cigarettes over a single vape-related illness case, instead of an outright ban on tobacco which kills 10 Filipinos every hour, was incomprehensible, an anti-smoking advocate said Sunday.

Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Quit for Good’s board of trustees member Ibba Rasul Bernardo said that he could not understand President Rodrigo Duterte's order against the use and importation of vapes.

“Ten Filipinos die every hour due to [traditional] cigarettes [ayon sa World Health Organization]… Isa lang yung probable case (ng vape-related illness)… Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit,” Bernardo said.

He also claimed that the device helped some smokers, like him, to quit smoking.

Bernardo further asserted that vape products had 95 percent less harmful ingredients compared to traditional cigarettes, as reported by the United Kingdom's Public Health England.

“Nakatulong talaga ‘to,” Bernardo argued.

He thus suggested that instead of banning the use and importation of vape products, etiquette and regulation should be established for vapes.

However, Department of Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo had emphasized that electronic cigarette had never been approved as a smoking cessation device in any country. 

Domingo pointed out that vaping could not replace tobacco because the device came with its own risks.

Duterte earlier ordered law enforcers to arrest anyone who vaped in public places, as he announced a ban on its use and importation because “it is toxic and not good and contrary to public safety.”

On November 15, the Department of Health reported the first probable case in the country of a lung injury related to vaping.

However, this had yet to be fully confirmed as tests were still needed to rule out either a viral or bacterial infection. — Joviland Rita/DVM, GMA News