THE measure imposing higher excise taxes on alcohol products, electronic cigarettes and other vapor products is expected to pass the Senate on second reading by Dec. 4, Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said.

“We are looking at Dec. 4, 2nd reading,” Mr. Zubiri told reporters in a phone Monday.

Mr. Zubiri was speaking after Monday’s caucus, called by Sen. Pilar Juliana S. Cayetano, which hoped to gauge the Chamber’s intentions on electronic cigarettes and vapor products after President Rodrigo R. Duterte banned their public use and prohibited imports.

“Decision of the caucus is to Regulate and to tax vaping and e-cigarettes,” he said in a separate message.

Mr. Duterte announced the bans last week after the Department of Health reported its first confirmed case of electronic cigarette- or vaping-associated lung injury. The ban came as the Senate was debating how to tax the products, raising questions about the feasibility of legislating a tax on banned items.

Ms. Cayetano last week maintained that she will go ahead with the proposal to increase rates on heated tobacco products and vapor products to P45 per pack in 2020 and by P5 every year until it reaches P60 in 2023.

Republic Act No. 11346, passed on July 25, gradually raised the excise tax rates on tobacco products to P60 per pack by 2023 from P35 currently and introduced a P10 per pack rate on heated tobacco products in 2020. It also introduced the following rates on vapor products: P10 for 10 milliliter vapor products, P20 for 20 ml, P30 for 30 ml, P40 for 40 ml, P50 for 50 ml and so on.

This also prompted the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda to impose higher taxes on vapor products than the rates approved in House Bill No. 1026.

The move to legislate vaping taxes hopes to cement the tax regime on the products, compared with an executive order, which can be rescinded. — Charmaine A. Tadalan