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DOH is banning vapes, e-cigarettes in public places

The Department of Health (DOH) is banning the use of vapes and e-cigarettes in public places in line with Administrative Order 2019-0007, Undersecretary Eric Domingo said on Wednesday.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed an executive order banning smoking in public places nationwide—but the order covers only traditional tobacco cigarettes.

With the AO, the smoking ban in public places is be expanded to include vapes and e-cigarettes.

“Kung saan bawal magsigarilyo, doon din bawal mag-vape para ‘yung mga hindi gumagamit nito  protected din sila at hindi sila mausukan,” Domingo told GMA News Online.

Vapes and e-cigarettes also contain nicotine that has negatives effects on health.

“Actually mas hindi pa natin alam kasi may mga chemicals ito tsaka bagong produkto at nakakatakot din sa atin ang magiging possible effects niya,” Domingo said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III signed the AO on June 14.

Manufacturing, distribution and sale of vapes and e-cigarettes will be regulated under the AO, Domingo noted.

“Kasama din ‘yung mga regulation, register ng produkto,” Domingo said.

Banning vapes and e-cigarettes follows the guidelines of Duterte’s Executive Order 26 on traditional cigarettes, Domingo said.

The following acts related to vaping and e-cigarettes are prohibited:

  • Smoking within enclosed public places and public conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, except in designated smoking areas
  • Allowing, abetting, or tolerating smoking in prohibited areas
  • Smoking, selling, or buying tobacco products by minors
  • Selling, distributing, or purchasing tobacco products while using the defense that one did not know the real age of a minor or did not know nor had any reason to believe that the product would be consumed by a minor
  • Ordering, instructing, or compelling a minor to use, light up, buy, sell, distribute, deliver, advertise, or promote tobacco products
  • Selling or distributing tobacco products in a school, public playground, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for minors, including those frequented by minors, or within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of these places
  • Placing, posting, displaying, or distributing advertisement and promotional materials of tobacco products, such as leaflets, posters, display structures, and other materials within 10 meters from the perimeter of a school, public playground, and other facilities frequented particularly by minors
  • Placing any form of tobacco advertisement outside the premises of point-of-sale retail establishments
  • Placing any stall, booth, and other displays concerning tobacco promotions to areas outside the premises of point-of-sale locations or adult-only facilities

Domingo said the AO will take effect two weeks after it is published in a national publication.

An e-cigarette firm said it respected regulations in the industry but deferred further comment pending its receipt of a copy of the AO.

"We respect reasonable and effective regulations on the electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) category," said Gela Isidro, head of communications of Juul Labs.

"We will defer comment until we have seen a copy of the supposed administrative order, and reiterate our request for industry consultations so that best practice and evidence-based policy options are duly considered in the crafting of this administrative order," she added. —with a report from Mav Gonzales/VDS/NB, GMA News