Wednesday, November 29, 2023

DTI warns e-commerce firms to remove vape products from platforms

Online shopping site Shopee Philippines has removed prohibited vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products being advertised and sold on its platform.

The DTI, represented by undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo, met with various e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces in the country last March 1 Photo from DTI

This after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) urged e-commerce firms in the country last March 3 to get rid of such items on their platforms

Shopee reported that it has already removed over one million prohibited vape listings from their platform.

A representative from Shopee Office assured the DTI of their support and cooperation: “We will also continue to maintain a direct line with the DTI as we work together on this matter moving forward. Rest assured that our ongoing measures will continue to help our sellers comply with their obligations under the Vape law.” 

DTI undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo reiterated the mandatory compliance with Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 22-01, reminding all digital platforms including social media marketplaces such as Facebook, Instagram, Viber, Lazada, Shopee, Carousell, among others, that existing laws, rules, and regulations that apply to physical stores likewise apply to online stores. 

“We appeal to all online marketplaces to police their sellers and ensure that appropriate age verification mechanisms and point of sale signages are in place, and that all listed products bear the required graphic health warnings prescribed by Republic Act 11900,” she said.

The DTI said it will continue its intensified monitoring and enforcement activities to safeguard consumers and ensure that businesses are compliant with the law.

“The DTI expects the cooperation of marketplaces and e-commerce platforms to take down listings of prohibited vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products and novel tobacco products packaged, labeled, marketed or presented with flavor descriptors that are unduly appealing to the youth such as fruit, candy brand, dessert, cartoon character,” it said.

With the effectivity of the IRR on December 28, 2022, all prohibited items under RA 11900 should no longer be found in the retail market, whether online or offline, the DTI said.

Meanwhile, manufacturers and importers are given an 18-month transitory period until June 5, 2024, to comply with product registration and certification requirements of all electronic or vaporized nicotine devices and allowed consumables under RA11900.

For product registration, only BPS-registered and certified vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, their devices, and novel tobacco products with the applicable graphic and textual health warnings shall be sold to the general public by June 2024.

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