Tobacco is a major crop in the Philippines generating billions of revenues from the taxes alone. However, tobacco use is a major culprit in the Philippine statistical data showing high morbidity and mortality rates, affecting millions of Filipinos every year. The Philippines House of Representatives surprisingly urges vaping to be included in the tobacco control strategy in the country. The legislative body just recently issued a resolution prompting the Department of Health to promote the harm reduction of tobacco through the use of vapes. Let’s find out what the Filipino legislation tell more about vaping and how it can help control tobacco use to reduce its harmful health effects.
Philippine Legislation About Tobacco Control Measures
The said resolution was authored by Representatives Jose Tejada and Anthony Bravo. It references the experience in the United Kingdom, where the public health authorities have also promoted vaping as a safer option for cigarette smokers. Vaping involves consumption of oil, concentrates, and dry herbs with the use of electronic devices called vapes, including vaporizers and e-cigarettes to produce vapor. Manila Standard (a broadsheet newspaper company in the Philippines) says that the lawmakers have cited the landmark reports from the UK’s Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England. The formulated resolution is not a law or a binding on the Philippine regulators, rather, it’s just a recommendation by the legislature made to help the health department regulate vapes without actually banning them.
Some Philippine government officials, earlier this year, have attended a conference on tobacco harm reduction which was organized by The Vapers Philippines, a vape advocacy group. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a Greek Cardiologist spoke about the advantages of substituting tobacco cigarettes with low-risk nicotine products. He urged the country to adopt and reinforce regulations recognizing the differences in the risks of smoking and vaping. Based on the recent survey in 2015 in terms of national tobacco use, 23.8% of the adult population are smokers. Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte remains firm in his stance on tobacco control measures, even threatening retailers to be imprisoned if they are caught selling cigarettes to minors.
The Philippine president is known for his powerful governance, driving a 360-degree change in the country. Peter Paul Dator (The Vapers Philippines President) thanks the legislators because they have an open mind when it comes to vaping as backed up by the scientific evidence that supports e-cigarettes, vapes, and vaporizers are less harmful alternatives over traditional tobacco cigarettes. He encourages the Department of Health to also do the same to save the lives of millions of Filipinos getting sick and dying every year because of first-hand and second-hand smoke.
Why is Tobacco Use Alarming in the Philippines
While the tobacco industry helps many farmers in the Philippines, the morbidity and mortality rates associated with tobacco smoking are soaring high every year. In fact, many Filipinos die every year due to smoking-related diseases which translates to 240 deaths per day or 87,000 deaths yearly. Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the Philippines. There are over 12 types of cancers associated with tobacco use. Experts associate the increasing number of smokers in the country because of the retail or “tingi” system of selling tobacco cigarettes which are sold “per stick” in local stores. While western countries directly or indirectly promote vaping by using vape, mods, vaporizers, and e-cigs, the Philippines still has a tough clamor for cigarette sticks. There’s also laxity on the part of the retailers when selling to minors. In fact, cigarette prices in the Philippines are far more affordable than any other country.
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has recommendations helping developing countries in fighting against tobacco cigarette hazards. They recommend raising the awareness of the public about the harmful and addictive nature of tobacco products in an attempt to encourage the promulgation of tobacco measures and policies. They also recommend a stricter implementation of bylaws, avoiding any conflicts of interest among government officials and cigarette manufacturers and merchants. The majority of smokers in the Philippines are poor so there is a really great challenge on how to reduce smoking in the country.
Why Should Filipino Tobacco Smokers Shift to Vaping
There are many good reasons why Filipino smokers need to shift to vaping. Vaporization does not undergo the process of combustion that produces tar and harmful smoke byproducts. There are a lot of studies and research and development showing that vaping is a safe and healthy alternative to smoking. E-liquids or vape juices consist of ingredients found in food such as vegetable glycerin. Vaporizers and e-cigarettes are electronic devices that produce vapor which is less harmful than smoking. In fact, some studies show that vaping can reduce the incidence of lung cancer and other respiratory problems associated with second-hand smoke.
Vaporization is a cleaner method of consuming nicotine and this is a good way to quit smoking. Initially, a smoker may need a higher dose of nicotine e-juice to prevent withdrawal symptoms, until a gradual reduction in the dosage will eventually result in total cessation of the smoking habit. There will be future policies and laws governing the regulation of vaping devices in the Philippines, opening more gates to Filipino vape manufacturers and retailers. Vapes have a promising future in the country given the right support and education dissemination. More than that, these devices can help smokers get rid of tobacco smoking and resort to a better habit.
Filipinos have an access to vaping devices through social media channels and online stores. We see a growing demand for vapes in the last two years and the recent legislation encouraging the use of these devices to control tobacco smoking. While it is true that the upfront cost of vaping devices is more expensive, vaping is cheaper in the long run. The government believes that vaping can somehow reduce the tobacco use in the country for healthier Filipino citizens. Vaporizers and vapes have gone a long way globally, and they are continuously invading different countries, helping smokers quit and promote a healthier alternative to smoking.