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Philippines: President Issues Executive Order Regulating Electronic Cigarettes, Vaping

(Mar. 27, 2020) On February 26, 2020, the president of the Philippines issued an executive order (EO) regulating the commercialization and use of electronic cigarettes.

Background

The EO states in its preamble that in 2016, the World Health Organization issued a report explaining that Electronic Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS) emit aerosol that commonly includes toxic substances which, in the long term, may increase the risk of a number of health problems for users, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

In addition, the Philippine Department of Health has reported that bystanders who are exposed to emissions from ENDS/ENNDS and heated tobacco products (HTPs) are at similar risk of a range of health issues, including respiratory illness, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegeneration, brain development retardation, and sexual and reproductive dysfunctions.

Thus, the EO states that it is necessary to regulate access to and the use of ENDS/ENNDS, HTPs, and other novel tobacco products in order to “address the serious threat to public health, prevent the initiation of non-smokers and the youth, and minimize health risks to both users and other parties exposed to emissions.”

Rules on Registration of E-Cigarettes and Related Products

The EO provides that all liquids, solutions, or refills that are necessary for using ENDS/ENNDS or HTPs must be registered with the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and comply with product standards imposed by it and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Furthermore, companies engaged in the manufacture, distribution, importation, marketing, and sale of ENDS/ENNDS, HTPs, or their components must obtain a License to Operate from the FDA.

According to the DOH, such requirements will allow authorities to subject heated tobacco and similar products to pertinent pre-market approval and post-market surveillance to ensure compliance with up-to-date product safety and marketing standards.

In addition, the EO prohibits importing unauthorized ENDS/ENNDS, HTPs, or their components. Consequently, the FDA and DTI are directed to coordinate with the Bureau of Customs to formulate guidelines, requirements, and procedures for properly importing such devices and their components into the Philippines.

Rules on Selling and Using Vaping Products in Public Places

The EO provides the following rules pertaining to selling and using vaping products:

  • Public places must have a designated smoking or vaping area (DSVA) for smokers of vaping devices and traditional cigarettes. Smoking and vaping within enclosed public spaces, whether stationary or in motion, is allowed only in DSVAs.
  • The use, sale, or purchase of e-cigarettes and tobacco products by persons under 21 years of age is prohibited.
  • Selling ENDS/ENNDS and HTPs in areas where minors congregate, such as schools and playgrounds, is prohibited.
  • Adding tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabinoid compounds to liquids used in ENDS/ENNDS and HTPs is also prohibited.