Vapers challenge Smoke-free Baguio ordinance

“Vaping is not smoking,” claims the almost 200 vapers who attended the city council’s session on Monday, March 5, 2018.
This is in connection with the city’s anti-smoking ordinance dubbed as “Smoke Free Baguio” which also regulates the use, selling and distribution of vapes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), aside from tobacco products.
The vapers are appealing to have a separate designated vaping area and separate legal provisions from tobacco smokers.
Atty. Francis Aurellado, spokesperson of the vapers in the city, explained that vaping and smoking are different.
He said vaping is safe because some nicotine used in some of the e-juice is made of “propylene glycol” which comes from glycerin of vegetables such as eggplant, cauliflower, tomatoes, and potatoes.
Aurellado claims there are 11,000 vapers in the city.
“It is a fact that nicotine does not kill if used properly, it is addicting but it is not a carcinogen,” said Joey Dulay, president of the Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association.
He added that according to the commission report of the Public Health England, vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking.
He appealed that smoking rules should not be applied to vape products.
Also, Atty. Allen Bagisi of the Philippine Tobacco Institute questions the Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Baguio City.
He said, all ordinances must be based with all national laws and the anti-smoking ordinance must follow Republic Act 9211, an act regulating the use, selling and distribution of tobacco in the Philippines. The law only entails prohibition of smoking and selling 100 meters away from schools, public places, public playground, and areas frequented by minors. But the city’s ordinance includes partially enclosed public places, prohibits the sale in all public places and also prohibits selling in piece.
However, Lawyer Bernadette Huggins, a consultant for Health Justice, refutes the statements of the vapers. “The fact that these products contain nicotine that is highly addictive, we must not tolerate any form of addiction,” adding that though vaping is less harmful than tobacco smoking, at the very least it is still harmful.
Meanwhile, City Epidemiologist Dr. Donabelle Tubera relayed a news about intercepted e-cigarettes containing cannabis or marijuana. “Just last week, Baguio City was on national news. This is not about Panagbenga but about the Bureau of Customs discovering electronic delivery system with cannabis or marijuana as their liquid placed in their e-cigarette.”
Tubera said that the e-cigarette does not help to quit smoking, but it actually makes it hard to quit.
She cited the World Health Organization saying that e-cigarette contains toxins and can break the DNA which may lead to mutation of genes. Also, the device used for vaping was not yet approved by the Food and Drug Authority. KRISTINE MAE L. PASYAN, UB Intern / ABN

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