DOH, FDA pressed to regulate e-cigarettes

MANILA — The New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) on Sunday urged the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to immediately start regulating the production and selling of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) in the country.

NVAP President Emer Rojas said it is high time for the DOH and the FDA to put restrictions on the growing popularity of e-cigs considering its adverse effects on public health.

“Putting its foot down on e-cigarettes is almost imperative for the DOH and FDA with more and more studies showing its adverse effects on one’s health,” Rojas said.

The NVAP official who is also an active cancer ambassador who advocates anti-smoking initiatives warned that the government cannot just sit idly while more and more people are now puffing on e-cigarettes and thus can get addicted to nicotine.

He cited a new University of California study that showed teenagers who smoke e-cigarettes are more likely to eventually move on to regular cigarettes.

Researchers conclude that youths, who were deemed to be at low risk of smoking cigarettes, may not have developed a regular smoking habit if they did not try e-cigarettes in the first place.

“Such studies simply show that e-cigarettes are actually encouraging, instead of discouraging, the youth to smoke and to consume nicotine,” said Rojas.

He said that lack of preventive mechanism and environment that can suppress possible addiction to the said new enemy is contrary to the growing worldwide trend for tobacco control.

“The current global trend is to really get rid of nicotine addiction by curbing tobacco use. And some countries are actually finding success in it. But with the emergence of e-cigarette’s popularity, our fight may actually be neutralized,” said Rojas.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices designed to resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes and deliver nicotine with flavorings and other chemicals to users in vapor instead of smoke.

The wide range of flavors, such as bubblegum and blueberry, make e-cigarettes extremely appealing to young people.

Meanwhile, FDA has yet to come out with regulations on the production, selling, and marketing of e-cigarettes in the country.

It, however, issued an advisory back in 2013, which discourages the public from using e-cigarettes saying the FDA has not registered any such products.

In 2014, a bill was filed in Congress calling for the regulation of the manufacture, distribution, sale, importation and use of electronic cigarettes in the country.

Under the proposed measure, the DOH and the FDA is authorized to impose restrictions and regulations on the flavor, composition, advertising, and promotion of e-cigarettes.