MANILA — Following the passage of the Sin Tax Law that substantially raises taxes on electronic cigarettes, Senator Pia S. Cayetano appealed to fellow parents to safeguard and educate their children from the dangers of picking up “these new dangerous vices” that seem to be targeting the youth.
“This is my call to all Filipino parents, please (discourage your children from) using these heated tobacco products (HTPs) and vapes. These devices are harmful to their health,” said the senator, who sponsored the sin tax measure in the Senate as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee.
The senator had initially pushed for higher tax rates on HTPs and vapes, citing evidence from health experts that such products could not be considered as effective cessation devices, and that they could cause harm to non-smokers and the youth.
“I based my position on [scientific evidence and] the recommendations of health advocates, no less than the World Health Organization (WHO), that we treat these e-cigarettes and HTPs equally as if they are cigarettes,” she stressed during a press conference with sin tax advocates on Tuesday (January 28).
“It is my job to veer on the side of safety. That ‘s why the position I’ve always taken is, unless there is convincing evidence that these are truly cessation products, and that these companies are willing to register them as such, then we should treat them as harmful products,” Cayetano added.
Meanwhile, Cayetano also said she will push for a more comprehensive approach to continue protecting Filipinos’ health and well-being.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law last January 22 Republic Act No. 11467, which imposes heavier tax rates on alcohol, heated tobacco products (HTPs), and vapor products.
“Part of the task is to get this law signed. We now have accomplished that. I thank all of the [health] advocates and everybody who spent so much time in helping us see this through,” Cayetano said during a press conference in Intramuros on Tuesday (January 28).
The senator in particular thanked her colleagues in Congress for supporting the provision under the law that mandates the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate e-cigarette products.
RA 11467 provides for the establishment of a framework for the regulation of HTPs & vapes by the FDA, including banning the sale to non-smokers and persons below 21 years old.
“One of the successful provisions that we have been able to include in this law is for the FDA to regulate these products. And I am very happy about that… We have now provided the legal mechanism for FDA to take the lead,” she stressed. (Stacy Ang/IAMIGO/CPH)