DOH pushes for total ban on e-cigarettes

Robie de Guzman   •   October 30, 2019   •   460

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday called for a total ban on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), stressing that it has no proven positive effect on the user’s health.

According to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, the use of e-cigarettes or vaping is not a proven replacement therapy for nicotine addiction.

“If the DOH had its way, we would go for an outright ban,” Domingo told reporters in a press briefing in Malacañang.

He also noted that a proposal is now being crafted in an aim to ban e-cigarettes and other similar devices.

“And I think there is possible legal legislation that will be proposed sa Senate and the House, and we will support it,” he said.

Domingo said there are more than one million Filipinos, mostly youth, using e-cigarettes in the country.

The health official said they are now monitoring case reports of injuries and illnesses documented arising from the use of these devices amid a rising number of such cases in other countries.

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration earlier advised hospitals under the DOH to report any vaping-related cases in line with the emerging report of such cases from Europe and North America as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (USCDC).

The USCDC in August issued an advisory, cautioning the public against the purchase and use of vaping ingredients from the street and to stop modifying either nicotine or cannabis e-cigarette in an effort to curb the reportedly rising cases of vaping-related sicknesses in 25 U.S. states.

“Based on reports from several states, patients have experienced respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain), and some have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) or non-specific constitutional symptoms (fatigue, fever, or weight loss). Symptoms typically develop over a period of days but sometimes can manifest over several weeks,” the advisory read.

The USCDC has recommended some steps for clinicians, including the reporting of cases of severe pulmonary disease of unclear etiology and history of e-cigarette use within the past 90 days, to help determine the cause of these sicknesses.

READ: WHO: Tobacco kills 8 million each year, e-cigarettes not a proven alternative

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier said the use of e-cigarettes should be regulated as there is no evidence proving they were a safer alternative to cigarettes, warning that it normalizes smoking and hooks young people. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

New serious lung disease linked to daily vaping

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2019

Toronto, Canada – A group of Canadian researchers announced Thursday the discovery of what they consider a new type of lung injury linked to vaping.

The disease, similar to bronchiolitis obliterans, is different from lung disease, known as EVALI, connected to the use of electronic cigarettes recently detected in the United States, the researchers said.

The research, which was published Thursday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, was based on a 17-year-old boy who uses daily electronic cigarettes and THC, the main psychoactive in cannabis, who developed a persistent cough and was eventually taken to hospital.

The patient’s condition worsened in hospital and he had to be placed on life support with lung lesions similar to a disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, known as “popcorn lung” because it has been observed in workers exposed to diacetyl, a chemical used as a flavoring in popcorn factories.

The young man’s situation worsened and doctors referred him to a transplant center because of the possibility he would need a double-lung transplant.

After ruling out other causes, Canadian researchers identified the liquids used to flavor the cartridges of electronic cigarettes consumed by the teenager as the most likely cause of the lesions.

Dr. Karen Bosma said the new model of airway injury disease associated with vaping that causes chronic obstruction appears to be different from the alveolar lesion seen in recent EVALI cases in the US and seven confirmed or probable cases in Canada.

She added that the case of acute bronchiolitis was a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge.

She said the patient had extensive exposure to flavored liquids for electronic cigarettes and the negative diagnosis for other causes of bronchiolitis.

Researchers suspect bronchiolitis obliterans may have been developed in the same way as that of popcorn factory workers exposed to inhalation of harmful chemicals, she continued.

The young man managed to avoid a lung transplant but researchers said he suffers from chronic lung damage and is recovering from his long stay in the intensive care unit.

The study authors noted that statistics indicate around 272,000 Canadians aged between 15 and 24 have used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days. EFE-EPA


More possible cases of polio being monitored in PH – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2019

A Filipino baby receives a polio vaccine inside a government-run health center in Manila, Philippines, 08 October 2019 (issued 11 October 2019). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said it is monitoring more possible cases of polio in the country following recent cases of children who tested positive for poliovirus in Mindanao.

The DOH said there are still other cases awaiting confirmation from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they recorded more cases in the past months because the agency is actively conducting surveillance of suspected polio cases.

On Wednesday, Nov. 21, the DOH confirmed three new cases of polio in children under five years old from Mindanao, bringing to seven the total number of polio cases in the country this year.

In September, the department confirmed the re-emergence of the disease in the Philippines 19 years after it was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.

The DOH said it is set to begin a new round of synchronized oral polio vaccine campaign for the whole of Mindanao, as well as in the National Capital Region (NCR) from Nov. 25 to Dec. 7 this year.

A polio immunization campaign will also be conducted in Mindanao from Jan. 6 to 18, 2020.

The department said the campaign’s “Patak Polio Corners” will be set up in selected McDonald’s stores in Metro Manila and in Mindanao after IT forged a partnership on Thursday, Nov. 21.

“We are relentless in making this health service accessible and available to all, consistent with our goal of Universal Health Care,” Duque said in a separate statement.

The Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio campaign aims to vaccinate all children below 5 years old regardless of Polio vaccination status, the DOH added.

According to the agency, the initial round of the synchronized polio vaccination reported 96% coverage among children 0 to 59 months old from the 17 cities/municipality in NCR.

Davao del Sur recorded 92% coverage from its 10 cities/municipalities while Lanao del Sur reported 85% coverage from 40 cities/municipalities.  

Phl records 3 more polio cases

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday confirmed that it has recorded three more cases of polio in the country.

The DOH said the three new cases were all from Mindanao – a 2-year old girl from Maguindanao, a 1-year old boy from Cotabato and a 4-year old girl from North Cotabato.

The three patients were admitted to the Cotabato Regional Medical Center.

The DOH said samples from the three cases were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan.

The results of the test came out positive for poliovirus.

Two of the patients were not vaccinated for polio, while the other one received incomplete doses, the department added.

With the confirmation of three new cases, the total number of polio cases in the country this year has climbed to seven.

“It is unacceptable that more children are falling victim to this vaccine-preventable disease. We are more determined than ever to make sure that no child shall be missed during the next round of the Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio in Metro Manila and Mindanao,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

“We should not be satisfied with our children receiving only 1 or 2 doses of the polio vaccine. Let us ensure that they receive the complete doses of the vaccine to fully protect them from Polio,” he added.

The Health chief also renewed its call to parents and caregivers to have their children immunized to protect them against polio and other diseases.

“We are reiterating to all parents and caregivers to have their 0-59 months children immunized with the polio vaccine from November 25 to December 7,” he said.

The DOH previously conducted a series of vaccination against polio in Metro Manila, Davao del Sur, and Lanao del Sur.

In September, the department confirmed the re-emergence of the disease in the Philippines 19 years after it was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.


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