Duterte announces total ban on use and importation of vaping products

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President Rodrigo Duterte late Tuesday night announced a complete ban on vaping, or the use of electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems.

“I will ban [vaping], the use and the importation,” Mr. Duterte said during the late night meeting with the media at Malacanang. “If you are smoking now, you will be arrested… I will order law enactment to arrest anybody vaping in public.”

This announcement was made in response to the Philippines’ first reported case of a vaping-related illness. The patient in question was a 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas who had been using e-cigarettes for six months. 

This is the latest in a long-term campaign against public smoking that Mr. Duterte first formalized with the issuance of Executive Order No. 26, which banned cigarette and tobacco smoking in public spaces back in 2017.

Earlier this year, the DOH called for stricter controls around the sale, importation, distribution, and use of electronic or e-cigarettes and other vaping instruments through Administrative Order 2019-0007. According to the DOH, over one million Filipinos currently use these devices.

“I hope everybody is listening,” Mr. Duterte said. “You know why? Because it is toxic and the government has the power to issue measures to protect public health and public interest.”

What this means for the local e-cigarette sector is yet to be determined. Major firms have long been readying themselves for stricter regulations and higher taxation. But an outright ban may just snuff the industry out for good.