The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has appealed to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to veto the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act approved by the Senate in December 2021.

The bill proposes to lower to 18 years old the minimum age for e-cigarette use.

It also requires buyers of vape products to present valid IDs indicating their age and birth date.

Director General Oscar Gutierrez Jr. said the FDA “strongly echoes” the sentiments of the Department of Health that the vape bill was not a health bill.

“Vapor products and heated tobacco products are currently being marketed by the industry as an alternative to conventional cigarettes, with some claiming or implying that these products being safer or less harmful. However, these claims are based on opinion rather than empirical evidence, lacking the required studies and substantiations,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez also said the bill would reverse the “significant progress” made under the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte when smoke- and vape-free policies and sin tax reforms were implemented.

The FDA, Gutierrez said, had the “rightful authority” to develop standards to regulate and monitor novel tobacco products.

“Thus, the FDA respectfully disagrees with the intent of the proposed Vape Bill which will transfer the regulatory jurisdiction of such products from the FDA to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI),” he said.

The FDA also said anew that there was no current ban on vapes and that it had regulations in place to legitimize manufacturers, traders, distributors and retailers of such products. John Ezekiel J. Hirro