Restricting minors’ access to vape pushed

By: Luisa Cabato - | January 16,2024 - 08:53 PM


MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Teodoro “Ted” Herbosa on Tuesday called for stricter enforcement of regulations to prevent minors from accessing tobacco products, especially vape.

Herbosa cited that while minors are not legally allowed to purchase such products, many of them can still be seen using them.

“Technically, by law, 18 years old and above lang ang pwede mag vape legally, pero pag pumunta kayo sa mall, pag tumingin kayo sa labas, naka-uniform ng high school nage-e-cigarette [electronic cigarette]. Tska binebenta ‘yun openly,” Herbosa said in a media briefing.

(Technically, by law, only those who are 18 years old and above are allowed to vape legally. However, if you go to the mall and look outside, high school students in uniform can be seen using e-cigarettes. Moreover, these products are openly sold.)

“I actually wrote a letter to the PNP [Philippine National Police] asking them to implement the law to make sure that none of these minors actually should have access to vaping,” he added.

Herbosa also mentioned that pulmonologists he personally knows have found cases of “e-cigarette-related lung injury” in their patients under 18 years of age.

“Kung ikaw parent ka, siguro pigilan mo ‘yung anak mo [gumamit ng vape],” he said.

(If you were a parent, you would probably prevent your child [from using vape].)

Herbosa also emphasized that, despite their differing forms, cigarettes, and vapes share the same adverse health effects associated with nicotine.

“The harm does not lessen; it’s the same harm whether it’s used as a cigarette or used as an e-cigarette,” he added.

Based on the 2021 Global Adult Tobacco Survey, one in every five Filipinos aged 15 and above are tobacco users.

Tobacco use includes “smoking, smokeless, and heated tobacco products.”

The same report also showed that tobacco use in the country decreased from 29.7 percent in 2009 to 19.5 percent in 2021.

However, the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction reported in 2021 that there are around 82 million vape users worldwide.


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TAGS: Department of Health (DOH), minors, tobacco, vape

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