DOH halts implementation of e-cigarette, vaping regulations
Marje Pelayo • October 18, 2019 • 865
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) has put on hold the implementation of its regulation on the use of e-cigarettes and vapes across the country.
According to the DOH, the decision was prompted by an injunction order issued by the Pasig City Regional Trial Court following a petition filed by e-cigarette companies.
The Department said e-cigarette firms are opposing the implementation of the regulation citing negative impacts on their income.
“Ayaw nilang mag-rehistro (They do not want to register),” said DOH spokesman Undersecretary Eric Domingo.
“Ayaw nilang ma-limit natin iyong nicotine content noong mga produkto, iyong volume na ibenta (They do not want to limit the products’ nicotine content and the volume),” he added.
Based on the administrative order issued by the DOH in June, all distributors, manufacturers, and sellers of e-cigarettes and vapes need to register to ensure that their use is properly regulated.
“Gusto natin may health warning. Gusto natin strictly kailangan ng ID (We want to include health warnings in the packaging. We strictly want an identification),” Domingo said.
“Hindi siya pwedeng ibenta sa mga menor de edad (They shouldn’t be sold to minors) and I think these are the things that the industry is trying to stop us from enforcing,” he added.
Based on DOH’s records, a total of 152 e-cigarette and vape manufacturers and retailers have already registered.
But the DOH is determined to stand by its regulation especially since the World Health Organization (WHO) has proven vapes’ harmful effects on human health.
“We are really very upset about this development but we will have to fight in the court for why we issued that administrative order,” Domingo noted.
Meanwhile, health experts are encouraging e-cigarettes and vape users to have themselves check as they might have developed illnesses associated with vaping.
Based on records of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food Drug Administration, 26 individuals have already died from a total of 1,300 cases of vaping-related illnesses.
“[That’s confirmed.] Therefore since [there are proofs] we have to do something about it,” Dr. Maria Encarnita Limpin, Secretary of the Philippine College of Physicians, concluded. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
The Department of Health (DOH) has urged the public to limit family reunions this holiday season to prevent a surge of COVID-19 cases.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said it is better to conduct reunions at home rather than in public areas like restaurants.
He also suggested doing an online reunion, instead, for the safety of every family.
“May Zoom, Webex, iba ibang platform. Online mass [gathering], huwag na punta sa mga lugar na maraming dumadalong mga mamamayan dahil tumataas risk contracting COVID-19 (There is Zoom, Webex, and other platforms. Online mass gathering is better, don’t go to crowded places since it would increase the risk of contracting COVID-19),” Duque said.
Meanwhile, the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) also reminds families to continue practicing minimum health safety protocols during the holiday season.
HPAAC member Dr. Antonio Dans said it is better to meet up in open or well-ventilated areas and to limit interactions with other people.
“The shorter the time the better, 30 minutes or less […] keep it to a minimum. Ang recommended ng WHO at CDC keep it to 15 minutes (The recommendation of the WHO and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) is to keep it to 15 minutes),” he said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
The Philippine Government is expected to sign a tripartite agreement with the private sector for 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca.
Philippine vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Thursday (November 26) announced that they will sign the deal on Friday (November 27). The 2 million doses will be funded by the private sector.
“With the partnership and the mobilization of the private sector, magiging maganda po ang paglaban natin sa pandemic kasi ang mangyayari po (we will have a good chance in our fight against the pandemic because what will happen is that) they will co-share their responsibility in protecting their economy by vaccinating their own people and stakeholder,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government also negotiating with AstraZeneca for around 20 million doses which will be paid using public funds.
“The 2.2 million [doses] is private money. We have ongoing negotiations with AstraZeneca and our deadline is December for access to 20 million doses,” Galvez said.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is reportedly proven to be 70% effective against COVID-19.
The company has already submitted the necessary documents to the Department of Health’s (DOH) Vaccine Experts Panel to conduct clinical trials in the country. -AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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