House bill bans vaping in public places, regulates online sales

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House of Representatives deputy majority leader Bernadette Herrera has filed a bill that bans vaping in most public places and regulates online sales.

The bill imposes penalties of P100,000 to P500,000, to imprisonment and confiscation, as well as deportation (for foreign nationals).

“The sale, offer for sale, import, export, distribution or transfer of any nicotine shots and/or concentrates shall be strictly prohibited,” the Bagong Henerasyon party-list congresswoman said.

Herrera’s HB 5510, which has a Senate counterpart, bans vaping in the following public places:

  • (1)        Centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels and recreational facilities for Minors;
  • (2)        Elevators and stairwells;
  • (3)        Locations in which fire hazards are present, including gas stations and storage areas for flammable liquids, gas, explosives or combustible materials;
  • (4)        Within the buildings and premises of public and private hospitals, medical, dental, and optical clinics, health centers, nursing homes, dispensaries and laboratories; and
  • (5)        Public conveyances and public facilities including airport and ship terminals, train and bus stations, restaurants and conference halls.

In HB 5510, no person shall sell, offer for sale, distribute or transfer any vapor products online unless the following requirements are met:

  • (a)         Compliance with all requirements specified in Republic Act No. 8792, also known as the “E-Commerce Act”, and the Rules and Regulations for Consumer Protection in a Transaction Covered by the Consumer Act of the Philippines through Electronic Means under the E-Commerce Act;
  • (b)         Compliance with all requirements specified under Republic Act No. 10173, also known as the “Data Privacy Act of 2012”, and its implementing rules and regulations;
  • (c)         Access is restricted to persons of 18 years of age or older. Access will be deemed to be age-restricted if a person cannot complete a purchase unless the person provides a copy of his/her valid government-issued photo identification for verification and provides a contemporaneous selfie for face-based biometrics verification;
  • (d)         An independent audit firm has certified compliance with the two-step age verification requirements; and
  • (e)         Such person has submitted the certification prescribed under Section 19(d) to the IAC-V (Inter-Agency Committee on Vaping) prior to carrying out online sales.

HB 5510 provisions on advertising are also stringent, according to Herrera. The bill prohibits all forms of advertising except for advertising at points-of-sale for which there are these restrictions:

  • i.     Shall not be aimed at or particularly appeal to minors;
  • ii.   Shall not feature a celebrity (which includes social media influencers) or contain an endorsement, whether express or implied, by a celebrity;
  • iii. Shall contain only text and/or a visual of the vapor product, without any other accompanying images or visuals unrelated to the vapor product; and
  • iv. shall include a warning.

HB also prohibits the manufacture, sale, offer for sale, import, export, distribute or transfer any E-liquid unless it complies with the following:

  • 1)  if the E-liquid contains nicotine, propylene glycol or glycerol, each ingredient should be within the specifications of an accepted pharmacopoeia;
  •  2)  does not contain additives that have Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Reprotoxic properties in unburnt form under the prevailing GHS revision;
  • 3)  does not contain vitamins or other additives that are promoted or marketed to create the impression that the product has a health benefit or presents reduced health risks;
  • 4)  does not contain caffeine, taurine, or other additives and stimulant compounds that are associated with energy and vitality;
  • 5)  does not contain additives having coloring properties for emissions;
  • 6)  does not contain additives such as diacetyl and 2,3-Pentandione, which are known to pose a risk to human health when used in vapor products. The IAC-V may, through the issuance of rules and regulations, prohibit any other additives that are, after notice and hearing, proven to have caused death, serious illness or injury, or to pose grave and imminent risk to consumer safety and public health when used in vapor products under normal consumption patterns;
  • 7)  the maximum nicotine absorbed by the body does not exceed that of a reference cigarette or the E-liquid does not contain more than sixty-five milligrams of nicotine per milliliter;
  • 8)  additives not prohibited under the preceding sub-sections, such as but not limited to flavorants, should be of at least food grade purity;
  • 9)  does not contain any dangerous drugs, as enumerated under Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; and
  • 10)       the manufacturer provides a written declaration to the IAC-V at least three months prior to manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, importing, exporting, distributing or transferring an E-liquid that that (i) the E-liquid complies with the standards set out in Section 8 of the Act and (ii) they shall bear full responsibility for the quality and safety of the E-liquid when placed on the market and used under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions.
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