MANILA— The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday renewed its call for a ban on electronic cigarettes and vaping products after the country reported its first case of an illness tied with their use.
"Kung DOH lang, sana ibawal na lang," Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo told radio DZMM.
(If the DOH have our way, we want it banned.)
Initially marketed as a healthier alternative to tobacco, the liquid used in e-cigarettes contains the addictive nicotine and potentially harmful chemicals, he said.
Heated tobacco products, which heat tobacco instead of liquid to generate nicotine, are also believed to be harmful, Domingo added.
"Gusto nating ipaalala sa ating mga kababayan na may risk itong mga produktong ito," he said.
(We want to remind the public using these products come with health risks.)
While authorities are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarette and vaping products, Domingo said evidence showed it was seen as a culprit in lung-related deaths and illnesses abroad.
In the United States, some 42 people have died while 2,172 were sickened from the use of e-cigarettes as of Nov. 14.
More than three-quarters of those sickened used tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive substance of marijuana, with or without nicotine products.
Of the THC-containing products, two-thirds also tested positive for Vitamin E acetate, a cutting agent believed to be used to stretch the amount of THC oil, and an early suspect in efforts to determine the cause of the injuries, according to a Reuters report.
Domingo is also raising concerns that vaping, which comes in a wide variety of flavors, is increasingly becoming popular among teenagers.
He said the young vape users are getting addicted to nicotine.
The aerosol produced by e-cigarettes also exposes bystanders from the potentially harmful substances, Domingo added.
If the government will not allow the prohibition of e-cigarette and vaping products, let it at least be regulated, he said.
"Matanggal natin 'yong mga chemical na nakakamatay talaga... 'Yong nicotine content gusto naman natin iregulate 'yon na hinid mapo-poison 'yong mga gagamit nito," Domingo said.
(We should removed toxic substances.... We should regulate the nicotine content that users will be safe from poisoning.)
Those who want to quit from smoking, they can can call the DOH hotline 165364 or text "STOPSMOKE" to (29290)165364. - with a report from Reuters