Individuals as young as 18 years old will soon be allowed to purchase and use vapes as the bill seeking to lower the minimum age of access to this product lapsed into law, Malacañang said Tuesday.
The proposed Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act lapsed into law on Monday, July 25, according to a letter sent by Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez to Congress. Bills left unacted upon by the president after 30 days from receipt automatically become laws.
The new law aims to regulate the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use, advertisement, and promotion of vaporized nicotine and heated tobacco products as an alternative to cigarette smoking.
Under the measure, individuals aged 18 and above will be able to access and use these products, lower than the current minimum age of access of 21 years old. Retailers are required to verify the age of the buyer by asking them to present a government-issued ID.
The measure also prohibits the use of these products in schools, hospitals, government offices, and facilities intended only for minors. Retailers should be at least 100 meters away from a school, playground, or any other facility frequently visited by minors.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, who opposed the measure when it was being deliberated in the Senate, expressed her dismay over the lapsing of the vape bill into law.
"Science clearly tells us just how harmful these products are, while medical experts have repeatedly said how the Vape Bill masquerades as a health measure, as it really pushes for de-regulation, not regulation, and harm introduction, not harm reduction," she said.
"To say that I am disappointed in the 18th Congress that passed the bill, and with the President for not vetoing it, will not do justice to the millions of lives that will be put in harm's way because of the Vape Law," she added.