'We tax them': Duterte explains why he allows tobacco, but bans vaping

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2019 09:40 PM | Updated as of Nov 21 2019 11:06 PM

A man lights a cigarette in Mandaluyong City, a day before the World Health Organization’s “World No Tobacco Day,” on May 30, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file photo

MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday explained why he allows the manufacture and importation of tobacco but is banning the importation of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices.

According to Duterte, the manufacture and importation of tobacco are being taxed and regulated by the government, unlike e-cigarettes or vapes.

"Kasi 'yan, cigarette, is allowed. Why cannot we ban cigarettes? Why? Because we allow its manufacture and maybe the importation of tobacco. We allow it, pinapayagan natin, and then we tax them," he said before a crowd of elderly Filipinos in Taguig City.

Duterte also said vape products contain nicotine and other unknown chemicals, and are not regulated by the country's Food and Drug Administration.

"Eh itong vaping, may nicotine. Kung hindi ka ba u***, may nicotine, pero may nilagay kayo na mga flavoring diyan at mga hindi ko alam kung ano. Hindi mo kasi in-import 'yan, idinaan mo sa FDA," he said.

"Hindi ako papayag. Hindi dumaan (sa FDA). Ang sigarilyo, dumaan (sa FDA)," Duterte added.

According to Duterte, an executive order against smoking in public already exists, and since e-cigarettes also contain nicotine, they should be covered by the policy.

"Manigarilyo ka, vaping, pareho rin nanigarilyo ka. Sabihin mo sa labas. E ngayon bawal manigarilyo, may batas na yan. Ang hinahabol ko ang nicotine. Anong illegal? G*go ka. P*tang—nicotine yan. Tapos may chemicals diyan na hindi ko alam kung ano. At pinapatay ninyo ang anak namin. Kaya sabi ko sa pulis, hulihin ninyo, basta in public. E may nicotine eh. Parang sigarilyo. Edi bawal. Pati yung sa display, ipatanggal na ninyo. Hindi ako papayag,” Duterte said.

The President on Tuesday said he is banning the use of vaping devices in public, as well as the importation of such devices.

While Duterte has yet to issue an executive order to back his verbal ban on vaping, the Philippine National Police on Wednesday already began its crackdown on users of e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

“I do not want anyone in the Philippines vaping. The executive order will come,” Duterte earlier said.

The Philippines has confirmed its first reported case of an illness related to vaping or the use of e-cigarettes, one involving a teenage girl.

The Department of Health (DOH) said it received the report on a recorded case of electronic cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) from the Central Visayas.

It said the patient is a 16-year-old girl who had been smoking both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes for 6 months. - with a report from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News