Duterte bans vape use, imports

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte yesterday ordered law enforcers to arrest anyone vaping in public as he announced a ban on its use and importation, days after health authorities confirmed a case of electronic cigarette-associated lung injury.

“You know why? Because it is toxic, and government has the power to issue measures to protect public health and public interest,” ABS-CBN News reported late Tuesday, citing a hastily called briefing by the presidential palace.

“Better stop it because I will order your arrest if you do it in a room,” Mr. Duterte was quoted as saying. “I am now ordering law enforcement agencies to arrest anybody vaping in public. That is like smoking,” he added.

The Philippines banned smoking in public in 2003 and Mr. Duterte issued an executive order reinforcing the Tobacco Regulation Law in 2017. Smoking is allowed in certain smoking rooms.

The Health department earlier sought a ban on vaping, warning the public that e-cigarettes are not a proven nicotine replacement therapy and can cause lung disease.

About 1 million Filipinos use e-cigarettes, according to the agency. — NPA