A lawmaker has filed a bill regulating the manufacture, distribution, sale, importation, and use of electronic cigarettes as one of the new means to overcome tobacco addiction.
Paranaque representative Eric L. Olivarez said e-cigarettes are not completely risk-free because it remains a source of nicotine, which is known to be an addictive substance.
“Although it may be safer than a cigarette or tobacco, because it does not produce real smoke as a very dangerous by-product of the latter, the long-term effects of vaping e-cigarettes are still not guaranteed to be completely safe,” Olivarez said.
“E-cigarettes were developed to provide tobacco or cigarette users a smoke-free source of nicotine, which of course should not be left as it is. Although arguably it is safer than a regular cigarette, the fact that it still induces substance dependence means that it nonetheless needs to be regulated,” Olivarez added.
Olivarez said e-cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative to regular cigarettes as this device was hinged on the belief that it is the key to help smokers stop their unhealthy habit without having to suffer the effects of sudden withdrawal and eliminates the risk of other people getting complication from second-hand smoke because e-cigarettes do not produce smoke as a by-product.
“E-cigarettes are designed to mimic the real thing. The internal assembly of this device is comprised of a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that holds nicotine and other liquids and flavorings. The end of the stick glows as one inhales it and a cloud of pseudo-smoke is puffed out as the user exhales. This seeming smoke is vapor, and the act of inhaling the said device is called vaping,” Olivarez said.
Olivarez said tobacco smoking has always posed a great health risk on the lives of the people who smoke, and the people who inhale second hand smoke from the former.
“We are all aware of the illnesses potentially brought about by constant smoking. People who have developed dependence on cigarettes are regularly exposed to the ill effects of tar, nicotine and the cigarette’s by-product — smoke itself, among many other harmful chemicals,” Olivarez said.
Under Olivarez’s House Bill 5093 to be known as the “E-Cigarettes or Vape Regulation Act of 2014,” manufacturers of e-cigarettes are directed to put health warnings in the packaging of their products.
The DOH should prescribe the standard for the size, content and other matters regarding the health warning signs that said e-cigarettes must bear.
It may impose restrictions and regulations regarding the advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes to ensure that the public are made aware of the actual nature of e-cigarettes and are not misled or misinformed regarding the product.
The said department may also impose restrictions on its flavorings or composition as may be necessary and possible so as to reduce the ill effects of vaping and nicotine addiction.
The bill provides that companies who wish to manufacture or distribute e-cigarettes in the country should first register the products and their ingredients with the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFD).
For those companies who are already manufacturing and/or distributing e-cigarettes, they too should register the products and their ingredients with the BFD. Local government units (LGU) are allowed to levy reasonable taxes on the manufacturing, sale, distribution or importation of e-cigarettes.