Tax bill still a go amid ban on e-cigarette

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    The Department of Finance (DOF) is urging legislators to pass the proposal which seeks to hike the excise tax on e-cigarettes pending the issuance of an executive order (EO) that will cover the President’s directive to ban importation and public use of tobacco alternatives.

    “We are awaiting the EO on this matter from the Office of The President,” Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, told finance reporters in a Viber message Wednesday night.

    “In the meantime, we urge the legislature to pass measure that is pending their approval,” he added.

    Duterte on Tuesday night said he is ordering the ban on the importation and use of electronic cigarettes or vaping.

    “I will ban it, the use and the importation. I hope everybody is listening…You know why?

    Because it is toxic, and the government has the power to issue measures to protect public health and public interest,” Duterte said in a press conference in Malacanang.

    Duterte said he would issue an EO to formalize the ban against vaping, its importation and use.

    Previously, the President called for the immediate enactment of Senate Bill 1074, or the act increasing the excise tax on alcohol products, heated tobacco products and vapor products.

    Among others, the proposal aims to align the tax rate of heated tobacco products and vape with traditional cigarettes at P45 beginning next year, P50 in 2021, P55 in 2022 and P60 in 2023, with five percent annual increases from 2024 onwards.

    The Department of Health last week reported that a 16-year-old girl from the Visayas is the first local casualty of vape-associated lung injury.

    The girl had reportedly been using a combination of e-cigarettes and regular cigarette for the past six months.