The Department of Health (DOH) welcomed the policy pronouncement of President Duterte banning vaping in public places.
Health Undersecretary Dr. Rolando Enrique Domingo said they will now wait for the executive order (EO) to be issued by the Office of the President to determine how it would be properly implemented.
“Very clear yung words ng Presidente, kung saan bawal magsigarilyo, bawal din mag-vape,” Domingo said.
For the enforcement side, Domingo said the DOH will coordinate with the police and the local government units.
As for the ban, the DOH will be working with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Domingo is also the officer in charge of the FDA.
Domingo said the DOH already released last August an administrative order (AO) tasking the FDA to regulate the sale of vapes. However, sellers managed to secure temporary restraining orders from two regional trial courts against the AO.
“Because of the TRO, we had to put the regulation on hold; but we are fighting for it. So now they can continue selling vapes unregulated. But when we see the actual EO of the President, we will work on that immediately,” Domingo said.
He stressed that they would not just accept the argument that vaping is less harmful than cigarette smoking. “Even if you say it is less harmful, still it is harmful, and we need further studies on that.”
He recalled that some 40 years ago, regulators were saying that “cigarette smoking may be harmful to your health.” Now, it has confirmed that smoking really kills. “So we should not wait for another 40 years to say that vaping can really kill people,” he said.