By Ben Rosario
Congressmen have rejected claims against the safety of electronic cigarettes or E-cigarettes as they adopted House Resolution No. 1885 calling on the Department of Health to endorse its use as part of the national tobacco control strategy.
Filed by Reps. Anthony Bravo (Coop-Nattco) and Jose Tejada (PDP-Laban, North Cotabato), HR 1885 strongly urges the DOH to promote harm reduction measures under the tobacco control plan by including the use of E-cigarettes as an alternative for smokers.
The measure contradicts a few bills that have been filed in order to ban or regulate the use of E-cigarettes as its adverse of good effects on a person’s health remain inconclusive.
IN House Bill No. 3330 or the proposed Vaporized Nicotine Product Regulation Act of 2016, Ako Bicol Representatives Rodel Batocabe, Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Christopher Co called for regulatory measures that would restrict vaping or use of E-cigarettes.
Authors said E-cigarette products should be registered with the Department of Trade and Industry prior to distribution even as they warned various “dangers” including the inhalation of chemicals and possible explosion of vaping device batteries.
In HR 1885, Bravo and Tejada noted that despite government’s compliance with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and World Health Organization anti-tobacco measures, “people still fin a way to smoke.”
“E-cigarettes offer an alternative. It is based on the idea of harm reduction: we can help smokers to switch from cigarettes to products that reduce the risks of smoking,” HR 1885 explained.
Authors noted that public health experts believe that smokers who switch to “combustion-free products” can substantially reduce smoking addiction and the accompanying risks of developing various health threats such as cancer and other lung problems.
They cited a study conducted on 800 patients by the Harvard School of Public health and the University of Massachusetts pointing out that nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and chewing gums “do not help smokers quit smoking.”
“Public Health England observed that since e-cigarettes were introduced to the market, smoking prevalence among adults and youth has declined, disputing claims that e-cigarettes are renormalizing smoking, and surfacing reasonable possibility that their presence has contributed o further declines in smoking or denormalization,” HR 1885 stated.
It also noted that the Royal College of Physicians has recommended nicotine regulation to be “designed to make e-cigarette products a more attractive, available and affordable option for smokers than cigarettes.”
Bravo and Tejada also cited the statement of Kevin Fenton, England’s national director of the Health and Well-being Agency that vaping “is much less harmful than smoking and that e-cigarettes are helping many smokers quit.”
“The Philippines can benefit from learning from the experience and studies in the United Kingdom which is at the forefront of smoking harm reduction exercises,” the House resolution stressed.