After a relatively charged election period, the Philippines have allowed a piece of pro-vape legislation to become law. The previous President of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, neither vetoed nor signed the bill into law. After the election, the new president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., also commonly referred to as Bongbong Marcos, also did not sign or veto the law.
Due to how legislation works in the Philippines, the bill became law on July 25, 2022. Next, it will need to be published in the country’s official gazette. Two weeks after it is published, it will become official law.
The most notable part of the law is that it lowers the required age to buy vapes to 18. While this may seem questionable in a vacuum, it makes more sense given the status of the Philippines. Currently, 18 is the required age to buy cigarettes, but 21 is the required age to buy vapes. The bill would make vapes accessible to people who, legally, would have only had access to cigarettes.
The Philippines also has a relatively high number of smokers. Around 28.3% of adult Filipinos identified as smokers. The number of smokers is high among youth as well, despite cigarettes being illegal for them to buy. Among youth ages 13-15, 10.8% were reported to smoke tobacco products.
Another part of the bill gives the authority to regulate vape and heated tobacco products to the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The DTI will be consulting with the Philippines Food and Drug Administration to set regulations for consumers.
The strength of vape liquid will be capped at 65 mg/ml, which is strong enough to include most vape juices and nicotine salts on the market .The law also imposes some restrictions on where vape products can be sold, penalties for selling to minors, and restrictions on advertising. Additionally, it removes a two-flavor limit on flavors. The law also regulates and allows vape companies to participate in corporate social events, such as trade events.
However, the most standout part of the law is how the bill treats vape. The law regulates and legitimizes vape companies. It also treats vape as a possible tool to reduce smoking, and encourages that by making vapes legally available to Filipinos who only had access to cigarettes before.
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