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Forgive Us Our 'Sin': Gov't Wants to Ban Online Sale of Cigs, Booze

Minors might also be buying "sin products" amid pandemic.
by John Paulo Aguilera
Jul 6, 2020
Photo/s: Natalie Parham via Unsplash

The Department of Finance is seeking to stop the selling of cigarettes and liquor — also known as "sin" products — online, due to the possibility of minors also making purchases amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III confirmed in a text message to repoters that "We will move to ban online sales of cigarettes and liquor."

The Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, which prohibits cigarettes companies from advertising even on the internet, doesn't cover e-commerce. On the other hand, Presidential Decree No. 1619 penalizes the use, possession, or unauthorized sale to minors of "volatile substances for the purpose of inducing intoxication or in any manner changing, distorting or disturbing the auditory, visual or mental process."

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Most online shopping websites have an age verification system for certain product categories, but buyers can easily get past it.

"We can ban (the) online (sale of) cigarettes, liquor, e-cigarettes and similar devices. Especially if sellers are not registered and they don't get profile of buyers and if they don't assure if buyer is no longer minor," Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in an interview with BusinessWorld via phone.

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One solution would be registering with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Bureau of Internal Revenue for product standards and customer checks, which according to him "can be done by direct company online sales and major platforms."

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