MANILA - The belief that the use of e-cigarettes can harm public health remains unproven, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Thursday, days after President Rodrigo Duterte banned vaping in public areas.
Duterte on Tuesday said vaping will be banned in public spaces to "protect public health and public interest" against the "toxic" substance emitted by electronic cigarettes.
"Except that it's annoying, a clear public health harm has yet to be proven," Sotto told Senate reporters.
"Our Arab friends smoke from bigger tanks in their private spaces. Old womenfolk smoke with the lit part inside their mouths. Kaniya-kaniyang diskarte. Each to his own poison," he said.
Malacañang has yet to pass an executive order that would formally enforce the ban on vaping.
Sotto said it remains "debatable" if an EO is enough.
"It may need an ordinance to ban it in a specific place, or a law for nationwide coverage," the Senate President said.
"The State cannot do everything to protect good health of its citizens. Suicide is not a crime. Assisting in a suicide maybe. Not suicide itself," he said.
The Philippine National Police earlier said those caught vaping in public will be given a "warning" and will not be detained.