“Priority: Children’s Health Above Benefits.”
This was underlined by the Children’s Rights Network (CRN), the largest alliance of children’s rights advocates in the Philippines, as it urged lawmakers to change their views toward the regulation of electronic cigarettes (electronic cigarettes).
The CRN expressed its concern based on 2019 data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, which showed that one in five users of vape or e-cigarettes in the country are teenagers or under-19s. .
He noted that a 16-year-old girl became the first victim of an e-cigarette or vaping when she was hospitalized and taken to the intensive care unit (ICU).
“We urge our legislators to change their view on these products from a point of view of uselessness and harmlessness, rather than the scale of harmfulness (harmful vs. less harmful) promoted by the industry,” he said. CRN in a statement.
Bills that want to promote electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) or vapors “under the guise of regulation” are currently being discussed in Congress.
The CRN expressed its fears because it said changes were being made to Republic Act no. 11467, the law that amended several provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).
One of the House bills “has dangerous provisions,” so instead of tightening the provisions, the bill would remove the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) power to regulate e-cigarettes and ‘would assign to the Department of Commerce and Industry (DTI), he said.
Electronic cigarettes would then be treated as “one more consumer product” because the age restriction would be reduced to 18 and the list of flavors would even be expanded, he stressed.
Along with health advocates, the CRN has also expressed dissatisfaction with the current version of the bill because it reverses the appropriate regulatory framework established by RA 11467.
“With the resumption of the 2nd regular session and only three weeks left for the adjournment, the CRN and its convener, the Philippine Committee on Population and Development Legislators (PLCPD), are asking lawmakers to put the interests of Filipinos , particularly children and young people first and not the industry, in the deliberation of these bills, ”said the CRN.
He noted that there is enough evidence to show that e-cigarettes cause significant harm to their users, and it does not matter if they are new users or are moving away from the use of traditional cigarettes. Because of the appealing flavors and fashion marketing, more and more young people are attracted to using e-cigarettes.
“We protect children and young people from the damage of these products and from the deception of the industry behind it,” he added.
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