Wednesday, May 29, 2024

DTI seizes almost P3M uncertified vape products in NCR

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it has seized 9,695 units of uncertified vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, and novel tobacco products worth P2,988,473 during its enforcement initiatives in the National Capital Region (NCR) for the period February 9 to April 26.

Photo from Freepik.com

The DTI – Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (DTI-FTEB) has been conducting routine inspections for violations of Republic Act 11900.

These include the following violations of firms or shops, in-store and online:

  1. No signage to inform consumers against use of children and non-smokers;
  2. Selling vape products that target children, through flavors or cartoon characters;
  3. Selling vape products in locations with children, such as schools and playgrounds;
  4. No age confirmation process against children’s interests; and
  5. Vape product ads that target children and non-smokers.

During the said period, the DTI enforcement teams have visited 390 physical stores to ensure compliance with the DTI Administrative Order (DAO) 22-16, s. 2022, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11900.

Prior to physical inspection, the DTI has conducted surveillance operations. With this, 121 firms were found compliant, while 106 stores were either closed or no longer selling vape products.

However, violations were seen among 163 firms and they were required to submit a written explanation.

Likewise, the DTI-FTEB Online Monitoring Unit (OMU) has intensified its monitoring with a total of 16,376 monitored online vape stores. 86 online stores were found compliant, while 16,290 were non-compliant.

Again, violators were asked to submit an explanation following physical inspection among 18 shops. Online platforms were likewise required to respond to violations of merchants using their platforms.

Through these combined efforts, there are already 56 formal charges filed against violators of RA 11900 and its IRR. A case has also been filed against one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the country.

“As we work to sustain the growth and development of the Philippine economy, we continue to prioritize the protection and welfare of Filipino consumers, especially minors,” DTI secretary Fred Pascual said.

“The DTI remains steadfast in formulating and strictly implementing policies that will ensure that these vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products will not be easily accessible to minors who might be enticed by it. While we aim to protect the interest of businesses, we must also heed to the call of parents and other organizations regarding the effects of these products to minors.”

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