Friday, June 14, 2024

DTI seizes vape products in Valenzuela City, issues notices to online stores

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it seized 923 units of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, and novel tobacco products worth P255,940.00 during its enforcement operation in Valenzuela City on May 4.

DTI undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo (right), DTI- Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) director Fhillip D. Sawali (left), and mayor Weslie T. Gatchalian inspecting vape products in Valenzuela

DTI undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo and DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) director Fhillip D. Sawali led the inspection of vape products being sold by seven vape stores in Valenzuela City.

Three non-conforming shops were issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) and were required to submit a written explanation within 48 hours from receipt of the NOV.

The common violations of non-compliant vape establishments are the failure to post the minimum age requirement, the absence of point-of-sale signage, and the sale of vapor products that are appealing to minors, such as those with fruit, candy, and dessert flavors; and/or packaging that features cartoon characters, and the sale and promotion of the said products within 100 meters from any point of perimeter of a school, playground, or other facility frequented by minors.

As of May 2, the enforcement teams have already monitored and visited 427 physical vape stores. Consequent to surveillance, the enforcement teams conducted physical validation where 139 firms were found to be compliant, while 171 firms were issued with Show Cause Orders (SCO) and (NOVs), mandating non-compliant firms to submit a written explanation within 48 hours from their receipt of SCOs and NOVs.

The 117 monitored stores, however, were either closed or no longer selling vape products.

Alongside its enforcement operations among physical stores, the DTI-FTEB Online Monitoring Unit (OMU) has also intensified its monitoring initiatives, resulting in 17,828 monitored online vape stores.

Of these, 93 online stores were found to be compliant, while 17,735 were non-compliant.

Out of the non-compliant online stores, only 98 have valid addresses and have been subjected to validation and physical inspection. During the physical inspection, 32 NOVs were issued while the rest were either closed or cannot be located.

Recognizing the challenge of regulating vape products in online platforms, 30 SCOs were issued to different online platforms notifying that there are online merchants selling or offering for sale vape products that do not conform with RA 11900 and its IRR. They were given 48 hours from receipt thereof to submit a written explanation.

The OMU is monitoring seven major online platforms and 14 company websites daily.

Through the combined efforts of the on-the-ground and online enforcement teams, there are already 57 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.

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