MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday started enforcing President Rodrigo Duterte's order banning the use of e-cigarettes in public.
All violators will be arrested while confiscated items will be disposed of properly, according to PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, who also declared police offices as "no vape zones."
The PNP will also coordinate with local governments, state agencies, and vape stores, he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the ban as he likened vaping to smoking tobacco cigarettes, which he earlier prohibited nationwide.
Duterte in 2017 issued an executive order banning smoking in public areas. The regulation applies to conventional cigarettes.
"I will ban it. I will ban it, the use and importation. You know why? Because it is toxic, and government has the power to issue measures to protect public health and public interest," he said.
"Better stop it because I will order your arrest if you do it in a room. I am now ordering the law enforcement agencies to arrest anybody vaping in public. That is like smoking."
The Philippines, which has some 1 million vape users, last week confirmed its first reported case of an illness related to vaping or the use of e-cigarettes, one involving a teenage girl from Central Visayas.
The health department earlier called for an outright ban on vaping as it warned Filipinos that e-cigarettes are not a proven nicotine replacement therapy and can cause lung illness.
An anti-tobacco group has appealed to Duterte to reconsider his ban as it deprives some 17 million Filipino smokers of a "viable alternative."