FPI pushes for enactment of vaping bill, cites ‘sweet spot’ for revenue and health goals

President of the Federation of Philippine Industries Jesus Arranza

Manila, Philippines – A major business group has called on President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the vaping bill into law, saying it would support the government’s revenue and health goals.

“The enactment of the vaping bill will provide a sweet spot to achieve the government’s revenue and health goals,” the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) said in a letter to the president.

In the letter sent by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on January 31, 2022, the FPI said the vaping bill will save the lives of Filipino smokers using less harmful alternatives, while protecting jobs and communities. local investments.

The bill was previously ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

FPI is the largest umbrella group of 168 organizations and companies from various industries in the Philippines.

Dr. Jesus Lim Arranza, Chairman of the FPI, said the group strives to be the voice of Philippine industries and to become an effective partner to the government in promoting and developing globally competitive Philippine industries. .

“As we are a staunch ally for the advancement of national industries, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, the REIT would like to take this opportunity to humbly urge His Excellency to enact the Vaping Bill,” the REIT said in the letter.

The law project

The Vaping Bill is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2239 or the “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act” and House Bill No. 9007 or the “Noncombustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act”.

It aims to establish clear and effective regulations on less harmful alternatives to burnt cigarettes.

Once enacted, it will regulate the import, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use and consumption of such products as electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs).

The bill aims to provide 16 million Filipino smokers with viable alternatives such as vapes and HTPs that are considered less harmful than cigarettes.

Results from the 2015 Global Adult Tobacco Survey show that while 76.7% of smokers were planning or thinking about quitting, only 4% were in a position to do so. The vaping bill hopes to encourage more smokers to quit.

The FPI said it strongly supports the overwhelming approval of the vaping bill in the House of Representatives and the Senate and the fair regulation of alternatives to cigarettes.

“Reduced risks”

“Regulations of those e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products that show evidence of reduced risk compared to cigarettes should rightly be on par with, or at least no more restrictive than, cigarettes – the leading cause of preventable death in the world. world,” the REIT said. .

Public Health England, a leading health agency in Europe, has found vapes to be at least 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

According to scientific studies, the UK and other countries that have adopted progressive vaping policies have seen their smoking rates drop twice as fast as other countries.

In the Philippines, FPI said the availability of these less harmful alternatives would be a public health gain, especially for the 16 million Filipino smokers.

Vaping Bill Provisions

The group said the vaping bill would also regulate a new industry that could raise taxes for the government.

He said that among the key features of the vaping bill are banning the sale and marketing initiatives targeting or appealing to minors, and imposing heavy fines and imprisonment on violators.

The vaping bill prohibits the sale, advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes and HTPs within 100 meters of any school, playground or other facility frequented by minors.

“Our age-old advocacy not only extends to the well-being of Filipino industries, but also to their stakeholders, including adult smokers and minors,” the FPI said.

He said the vaping bill contains numerous provisions aimed at combating illicit trade and promoting a level playing field between and among foreign and domestic manufacturers, importers and exporters of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products. .

The REIT said that under the bill, only products registered with the Department of Commerce and Industry and compliant with the Bureau of Internal Revenue will be permitted to be sold, advertised or distributed by lawful means.

“Illicit trade in these products as well as unintentional use is minimized, if not completely eradicated,” the FPI said.

The vape bill empowers the DTI to order a recall or seizure of non-compliant products sold online and in stores. The BIR is authorized to prescribe a floor price for these products.

It also regulates online sales, which is seen as timely given the widespread shift to e-commerce from traditional trade channels, according to the REIT.

“These new reforms would make it difficult for unscrupulous, unregistered and non-taxpaying traders to sell their contraband goods to innocent consumers. All of these also ensure correct, adequate and stable tax collection for the government, while safeguarding local employment and investment from legitimate industries,” the group said.

The FPI said enacting the vaping bill would support “economic stability and fiscal sustainability through policies that support local businesses and workers.”

“We want to work hand in hand with the office of the president to create a globally competitive Philippines based on effective legislation,” he said.

The REIT said it supports legislation that strengthens economic development and educates members and the public about economic issues and policies that affect the direction of business.

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