On Tuesday, November 19 President Rodrigo Duterte announced a ban on the public use and importation of e-cigarettes or vapes in the Philippines. “I will ban it. I will ban it – the use and the importation,” he stated during a press conference.
This proclamation follows the first confirmed case of e-cigarette or vape-associated lung injury (Evali) in the country. It was justified by the reasoning that it is within the government’s jurisdiction to issue directives that protect public health and public interest.
As such, the president has empowered law enforcement to arrest individuals smoking the e-cigarettes or vapes in public. He claims that it has “contaminated people” and is “dangerous.”
He was quick to assure that an executive order would soon follow but was not actually necessary since he has the “urgent power” to have it banned. “I’m ordering it. The EO will follow,” President Duterte pronounced.
“Itong vaping sabi nila (They said that this vaping) is electronic. Don’t give me that sh*t. Better stop it or I will order your arrest if you do it in the room,” he said.
Although the Department of Health previously sought to regulate these e-cigarettes and vapes they continue to face hurdles. The issuance of court injunctions against DOH Administrative Order (AO) No. 2019-0007 have stalled its implementation.
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