Duterte bans vaping, describes it as ‘toxic’

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    PRESIDENT Duterte on Tuesday night said he is ordering the ban on the importation and use of electronic cigarettes or vaping that he described as “toxic,” habit forming and “contrary to public safety.”

    “I will ban it. 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,” the President said in a press conference in Malacanang.

    Duterte said is ordering authorities to arrest those vaping in public, saying like cigarette smoke, vaping affects people who do not smoke. He added he would issue an executive order to formalize the ban against vaping, its importation and use.

    Duterte gave his order more teeth last night, ordering law enforcement agencies, including the military, to arrest people vaping places and confiscate vaping gadgets.

    The Department of Health yesterday expressed hopes that Duterte would issue a comprehensive executive order against vaping that will go beyond the ban in public places and importation.

    PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said PNP officer in charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa directed all police units nationwide to enforce the ban against vapes effective yesterday in compliance with Duterte’s order.

    Banac said Gamboa told policemen to “ensure that all violators will be arrested and properly recorded in the police blotters.” Banac added that all police camps are “No Vape Zones.”

    “Itong vaping sabi nila is electronic. Don’t give me that s***. Better stop it. I am now ordering law enforcement agencies to arrest anybody. That is like smoking. You cannot do it inside a room. That’s full of s***. You contaminate people na hindi pa pala panahong mamatay (You contaminate people who are not yet supposed to die),” he said

    The President said vaping, like a regular cigarette, contains nicotine and other chemicals that cause harm to people.

    The DOH had been calling for the ban of vaping, saying it is not good for one’s health, contrary to the claims of those advocating the use of e-cigarette as an alternative to tobacco.

    The DOH last week said 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.

    CALL FOR SOBRIETY

    Vaping groups are calling for sobriety in the midst of statements from government officials bent on banning vaping products over the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses in the United States.

    “Let’s face it, vaping is not completely safe but it is a much better alternative to smoking. If we ban e-cigarettes, thousands of vapers might go back to cigarettes,” The Vapers PH said.

    Vaping products have been found to contain 90 to 95 percent less of the toxins found in cigarette smoke.

    The group said reports of a 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas being the country’s first vaping-injury patient is not yet conclusive. Even the Department of Health said it will take weeks and several more tests before it is determined what really caused her death.

    The Vapers PH and the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates cited the breakthrough report of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention which found vitamin E acetate “as the chemical of concern” found in the lung fluids of 29 people who fell seriously ill or died in the outbreak in the United States.

    The CDC report, although not yet final, said vitamin E acetate “might be used as an additive, most notably as a thickening agent in THC-containing e-cigarettes. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a crystalline compound that is the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis or marijuana. – With Gerard Naval and Victor Reyes