Photo courtesy of WHO

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on final reading a proposal that would regulate the manufacture, use, sale, distribution, and promotion of electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS), as well as heated tobacco products (HTPs) to promote a healthy environment and protect the citizens from hazards.

With 192 affirmative votes, 34 negative votes, and four abstentions, the chamber passed on third reading House Bill 9007, otherwise known as the Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act.

AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin, principal sponsor of the measure, said the bill seeks to address the unintended or potential adverse consequences on the use of HTPs and vaping products among Filipino consumers.

“We have included in this bill mechanisms on controlling safety risks and preventing youth uptake of all tobacco and nicotine products,” she said during the virtual session.

The bill provides protection to minors from accessing ENDS/ENNDS or HTPs by setting the minimum allowable age for the purchase, sale, and use of such products to 18 years old.

Retailers shall ensure that no individual purchasing these products are below 18 years old by verifying the age through presentation of any valid government-issued identification card exhibiting the buyer’s photograph and age or date of birth.

The sale and distribution of the products shall be prohibited within 100 meters from any point of the perimeter of a school, playground or other facility frequented by minors shall be prohibited.

Online trade through Internet websites or via e-commerce and other similar media shall be allowed provided that sellers ensure that access is restricted to persons 18 years old or older and that the internet website bears the signage required by the bill.

Advertisements of the products shall be allowed in retailer establishments, through direct marketing, and on the internet.

“These shall not be aimed at or particularly appeal to persons under 18 years of age. These should not undermine quit-smoking messages and should not encourage non-tobacco and non-nicotine users to use ENDS/ENNDS and HTPs. These should not contain any information that is untrue in particular with regard to product characteristics, health effects, risks, or emissions,” the bill read.

The use of ENDS/ENNDS or HTPs shall be prohibited in all enclosed public places, as well as in schools, hospitals, government offices, and facilities intended particularly for minors.

However, there shall be designated vaping areas that should comply with standards specified in the proposed law.

The Department of Trade and Industry, in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration, the National Tobacco Administration, and other concerned agencies shall promulgate rules, regulations, and standards on packaging, ingredients, graphic health warnings, detailed information on the allowable nicotine-containing e-liquid, the strength of e-liquids, compliance with applicable electrical standards as well as with applicable industry standards for batteries.

Existing industries and businesses affected by the implementation of the Act shall be given an 18-month transitory period from the effectivity of the implementing rules and regulations to comply with the requirements. (PNA)

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