DOH bans use of vapes, e-cigarettes in public places

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2019   •   2241

FILE PHOTO: Jerred Marsh (R) samples flavored vape juice from Nancy Reyes at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has banned the use of vapes and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in public places.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on June 14 signed the Administrative Order (AO) 2009-0007 which prohibits the use of vapes (vaporizers) and e-cigarettes, as well as tasking local government units to apprehend violators.

The order imposes penalties on violators, depending on local ordinances enforced by the town or city where the smoker was apprehended.

The signing of the AO comes two years after President Rodrigo Duterte issued the Executive Order 25 which bans cigarette smoking in public and limits it to designated smoking areas.

This order will expand the smoking ban in public places to include vapes and e-cigarettes. Manufacturing, distribution and sale of vapes and related items will also be regulated.

The move follows the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to regulate or ban the use of e-cigarettes and related products once it is proven that these also contain cancer-causing chemicals that are found in traditional cigarettes.

“We need to regulate this. We need to make sure that the nicotine delivery system as well as the electronic non-nicotine system kasama iyong e-cig, mga vapes at ng lahat ng mga ito will be subject to regulatory control,” Duque told reporters in an interview during the relaunching of DOH’s school-based immunization program on Wednesday.

The DOH said the AO is seen to take effect next month after it is published in a national publication. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

FDA orders DOH-controlled hospitals to report vape-related injuries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 11, 2019

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Department of Health (DOH)-controlled hospitals to report cases that are related to using vape.

This was after health officials in the United Stated confirmed on Tuesday (September 10) that a 50-year-old man died of lung disease linked to vape use.

According to Dr. Anton Javier, project manager of Product Research and Standards Development Division Center for Cosmetics in the FDA, they might not monitor any illnesses related to using vape just yet because of the latency period.

“Because of the latency period nga po baka po wala pa tayo makita just yet. Pwede po kasing nagve-vape ka ngayon pero iyong mga magiging sakit niyo down the line pa, (Because of the latency period, we might not see [incidence] just yet. You can actually use vape now but your illness might appear down the line)” he said.

However, an expert said the confirmed case in the United States should not be a cause of alarm.

“It’s been well proven by laboratories in the US that deaths in Kansas whatever it is, has got nothing to do with e-cigarettes its what these people has put in e cigarettes that contains adulterated contaminants of cannabis,” according to Harm Reduction Expert Dr. Tikki Pang.

The FDA had previously released a regulation on using vape or e-cigarettes. Manufacturers or retailers were given until October 25 to register their products to the FDA.

The FDA has also warned against the dangers of the chemicals found in vape products. This include cynemaldehide which causes blockage in the lungs which can lead to difficulty in breathing.

Another dangerous chemical, according to the FDA, is diacetyl which causes bronchylitis or inflammation of the lungs.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

New York governor proposes ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

A man smokes an electronic cigarette vaporizer, also known as an e-cigarette, in Toronto, August 7, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed legislation on Monday (September 9) to ban flavored e-cigarettes statewide in an effort to protect young people from the unknown consequences of vaping.

“Common sense says if you don’t know what you’re smoking, don’t smoke it,” Cuomo told reporters at a news conference. “And right now, we don’t know what you’re smoking in a lot of these vaping substances,” he said.

The governor’s announcement comes after a nationwide surge in mysterious, serious lung illnesses possibly related to vaping, which has also been linked to five deaths in the United States.

The decision is of a piece with how vaping is currently being viewed by many on the street in New York.

“You don’t know what the hell you’re smoking,” Brian, a construction worker, told Reuters. “You don’t know what they’re putting in that oil.”

U.S. public health officials on Friday announced that they are investigating about 450 cases of the illness across 33 states and one U.S. territory, including 41 cases in the state of New York. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they have not linked the illnesses to any specific e-cigarette product or ingredient.

If the proposed legislation were to become law, New York would become the second state to ban flavored e-cigarettes, following Michigan, which passed a ban on Wednesday.

While e-cigarettes are promoted as a product to help smokers cut down or quit, health officials have expressed concerns that many e-cigarette flavors are designed to get a new generation hooked on nicotine.

Many of the reported illnesses involved vaping products, including cannabis products, containing vitamin E acetate, an oil derived from vitamin E that is potentially dangerous if inhaled,

Cuomo, sitting beside New York Commissioner of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, also announced that the state’s Department of Health was issuing subpoenas to three e-cigarette companies, Honey Cut Labs LLC, Floraplex Terpenes and Mass Terpenes LLC. The Department of Health obtained samples from the three companies and found high levels of vitamin E acetate in their products.

Cuomo said stores that sell e-cigarettes will be required to disclose potential health consequences.

“It’s quite simple: Don’t do it,” Cuomo said. “Don’t do it because we don’t know if it’s safe.” (Reuters)

(Production by: Dan Fastenberg and Hussein al Waaile)

What is Leptospirosis and how can you avoid it?

Robie de Guzman   •   August 30, 2019

The risk of getting water-borne illnesses, like leptospirosis, is often much greater during the rainy season.

Health experts said this is because floodwaters and other extreme weather-related events cause rodents and other wild and domesticated species to move into the city.

In the Philippines, cases of leptospirosis have been spiking in the recent weeks due to rains and heavy flooding.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that from January 1 to August 3 this year, more than 900 cases of leptospirosis were recorded, 300 of which are from Metro Manila. Out of these cases, 106 fatalities were reported.

READ: Leptospirosis cases now over 900

According to the World Health Organization, leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. It is an infection in both wild and domesticated animals but rodents are implicated most often in human cases.

Human infection can occur through “direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment such as surface water, soil and plants.”

The most common route of infection is exposure to water contaminated by urine, such as floodwaters, and through skin abrasions and the mucus of the nose, mouth and eyes.

How leptospirosis affects your body?

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Cybele Abad, in an interview with UNTV Digital program Lifesaver, said that when leptospirosis bacteria enter the body, it spreads through blood and infects the cells.

“Kapag halimbawa after ng isang bagyo tapos lumusong sa baha tapos may bukas na sugat sa paa, usually pwedeng makapasok yung Leptospirosis (bacteria) sa open wound sa paa… Tapos dala ng dugo, iikot sa buong katawan yung leptospiros at magkakaroon ng mga sintomas ng leptospirosis,” Abad said.

Watch this online episode of Lifesaver for more information on how leptospirosis affects your body.

Signs and Symptoms

The time between a person’s exposure to a contaminated source and becoming sick is two to four days.

In the early stages of the disease, symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness of the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, haemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash.

But according to Abad, many of leptospirosis’ symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases, so it is important for a person suspected with this infection to seek immediate medical consultation and tests.

“Kapag (tingin) po na may posibilidad na leptospirosis, kailangan dalhin sa ospital para mabantayan yung mga sintomas. Kailangan din pong ma-diagnose ito, usually through some blood test, puwedeng blood culture o kaya may diagnostic test para malaman kung leptospirosis or hindi,” she said.

What to do to prevent infection?

To avoid leptospirosis, health experts advise the public to take up measures, which include:

  • Avoiding swimming or wading in potentially contaminated water or flood water.
  • Use of proper protection like boots and gloves when work requires exposure to contaminated water.
  • Draining of potentially contaminated water when possible.
  • Control rats in the household by using rat traps or rat poison, maintaining cleanliness in the house.

The illness usually lasts for a few days to three weeks or longer and can be treated with antibiotics. But without treatment, recovery may take several months.

The more severe phase of the disease may lead a person to have kidney or liver failure or meningitis.

Lifesaver is a UNTV Digital program that offers basic first aid training essential to anyone who happens to be a bystander to an accident or emergency. It also educates viewers of imperative emergency response lessons and indispensable disaster preparedness tools to be able to save lives in times of calamities.

For more information on dengue, other basic first aid and emergency response tips, visit Lifesaver’s Youtube and Facebook accounts.

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