MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Saturday said he would support measures that would regulate the use of e-cigarettes instead of policies banning the product.
Duque's statement is a departure from the Department of Health's recent call to ban electronic cigarettes in the country.
"If I had my way, I want to ban it but we have to be more evidence-based. We have to have more scientific basis for banning it," Duque told ANC's Dateline Philippines Weekend.
The official said it would be wiser to have a law on the regulation of e-cigarettes instead, noting that the DOH administrative order against vaping could not be enforced after a court released a temporary restraining order against the policy.
"If these were a legislation, it will be difficult to question this in the court of law," he said.
"We support measures to enforce regulation of vapes," he said.
A British study showed that the cardiovascular health of chronic smokers improved after they switched to vaping.
The United States, however, said that as of November 14, around
42 people have died from the use of e-cigarettes, while 2,172 fell ill from vaping.
Recently, a case of vaping-related injury was reported in Central Visayas involving a teenage patient, but Duque said further tests have to be conducted to confirm this.
The executive department has been pushing to impose higher taxes on e-cigarette and alcohol products to raise some P47.9 billion to fund a P59.1-billion funding gap for universal health care.