Anti-smoking group praise DOH move not to ban vape

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    Quit for Good, an anti-tobacco advocacy group, lauded the Department of Health’s new stand to regulate vaping products after the joint meeting of the Committee on Trade & Industry and Committee on Health on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS) last December 2 at the House of Representatives.

    According to Dr. Lorenzo Mata, president of Quit for Good, while the agency’s staunch pursuit to safeguard the health of its citizens is laudable, a total ban on vaping products can lead to unintended consequences.

    “A clampdown on electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices can lead former cigarette users to take up the harmful habit of smoking once again – we definitely do not want that to happen, seeing how it has resulted in PHP 270 billion in healthcare and productivity losses for the country,” he explained in an interview.

    In his speech before the two committees, Dr. Mata cited various scientific studies presented in The E-Cigarette Summit held in London, England last month that showed the efficacy of ENDS over nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs).

    Another study, conducted by Hammond et al. and published in respected peer-review medical journal BMJ, disproved the claim of anti-tobacco organizations that e-cigarettes serve as a gateway to cigarette smoking, especially among the youth.

    A survey conducted among high school students as part of the study showed that of past smokers, 56% now vape daily, while of past vapers, only 9% smoke regularly. “If any, e-cigarettes are more often a gateway away from, than into, cigarette smoking,” the study indicated.

    “These studies reaffirm that ENDS have been proven to be an effective tool in helping smokers reduce their nicotine consumption, if not quit its use altogether,” he said. “We urge the government to adopt a legislative framework that would regulate ENDS similar to the United Kingdom.”

    In the UK, e-cigarettes are regulated and promoted as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes by health officials.

    “Through the reasonable regulation of the ENDS category, the country has the opportunity to lower the number of preventable diseases caused by smoking, increase the number of good health years of smokers, and improve public health,” Dr. Mata proposed. “That, I believe, is a step towards true universal health care.”