MANILA (UPDATE)- President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order which prohibits vaping or the use of e-cigarettes in public places in an expansion of his earlier nationwide smoking ban.
Executive Order No. 106, signed on Wednesday but made public only on Friday, also prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, and novel tobacco products to those below the age of 21, and requires the registration of such products and its components with the Food and Drug Administration.
Establishments that manufacture, import, and sell e-cigarettes meanwhile are required to secure a license to operate from the FDA.
FDA Director Eric Domingo said Friday e-cigarette manufacturers and vendors need to be enrolled in a “notification scheme” for traceability.
Heated tobacco and similar products meanwhile must undergo pre-market approval and post-market surveillance to ensure compliance with updated product safety and marketing standards, he added.
“We are committed to ensure that tobacco marketing is not aimed at children,” Domingo said in a statement.
To regulate the entry of e-cigarettes and its components in the country, the President ordered the FDA, and the Department of Trade and Industry to coordinate with the Bureau of Customs for guidelines on the importation of the said products.
Materials used in e-cigarettes are also subject to the product standards of the trade department.
The latest executive order is an expansion of Duterte’s 2017 directive to ban smoking of tobacco products in public places. Duterte made good on his word last year of an executive order after health officials reported a case of electronic cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the central Philippines.
Duterte explained that his latest order aims to address the “serious and irreversible threat to public health” of vaping and “prevent the initiation of non-smokers and the youth, and minimize health risks to both users and other parties exposed to emissions.”
Vaping however may be allowed in a designated area in a building or conveyance, which may either be “an open space or separate area with proper ventilation,” the EO said. Minors are prohibited from entering the said area.
If the designated area is within the confines of a building, Duterte mandates that there should be no opening in the said area that would allow the air to escape to smoke-free areas of the building except for a door that should be equipped with an automatic door closer.
Aside from the ban on selling e-cigarettes to persons below 21 years old, the President also prohibits those younger than 21 from using, lighting up, selling, distributing, promoting, or delivering e-cigarettes.
Selling of tobacco products and e-cigarettes is also prohibited in school, public playground, youth hostels, recreational facilities for minors, areas frequented by minors, or within 100 meters of the said places.
Posting of vaping advertisements and promotional materials in areas where their sale and distribution are prohibited is also forbidden.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III hailed Friday the new executive order as “a solid step forward” in the agency’s fight against nicotine addiction.
“These regulations were benchmarked against international standards for novel tobacco product regulation which signifies that we are committed to aligning our rules with meaningful public health policies that save millions of lives yearly,” Duque said in a statement.
Over a million Filipinos use e-cigarettes according to the Department of Health, which has repeatedly called for an outright ban on vaping.
The health department has warned that e-cigarettes are not a proven nicotine replacement therapy and can cause lung illness.