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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

DTI taps NGOs to help regulate, curb youth vaping

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it intensified its strategic enforcement efforts to ensure that no illicit vape products are allowed entry into the Philippine market following the country’s first reported death due to vape-related lung injury.

Pursuant to its mandate under Republic Act (RA) 11900 or the Vape Law and aligned with the government’s efforts to ensure consumer protection, DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual emphasized the need to prevent the youth from gaining access to these vape products.

“Marketing and selling vape products to minors is expressly prohibited under the Vape Law. However, there remains strong evidence that the vape industry players are making use of marketing strategies aimed towards the youth—who remain to be the more impressionable segments of the population,” Pascual said.

Fair Trade Group (FTG) supervising head and assistant secretary Agaton Teodoro Uvero reiterated the DTI’s commitment to ensuring that manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of vape products are fully compliant with the Vape Law.

“We are consistently engaging with various government and non-government agencies to ensure that industry players—large or small—are properly monitored, are duly certified and registered, and that they follow the Vape Law and its accompanying implementing rules and regulations,” Uvero said.

To help prevent minors from accessing vape products, the DTI, through its Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau, engaged several advocacy groups such as Health Justice Philippines, Social Watch Philippines, Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), Child Rights Network (CRN), and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) through dialogues on innovative strategies to address the problem of youth vaping and potentially strengthen the existing implementation and enforcement mechanisms.

The Vape Law designates the DTI with principal jurisdiction over the regulation of vapes and other novel tobacco products and assigns complementary roles to the Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, Bureau of Internal Revenue and local government units.

The DTI-FTEB said of the 89,046 physical and online firms monitored by the agency from February 2023 to May 2024, it issued 526 show cause orders (SCOs) and 284 notices of violation (NOV).

Authorities also confiscated vape products totaling P32,755,717 in 2024 for violation of the Vape Law, as implemented by Department Administrative Order (DAO) 22-16 Series of 2022.

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