Unmasking the Vape Bill lies

Statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano

  • Principal sponsor, Sin Tax Law of 2020 (RA 11467)
  • One of two senators who voted ‘no’ to the Vape Bill in the 18th Congress

One of the oldest tricks used by the intellectually dishonest are logical fallacies. These are arguments that seem compelling on the surface, but are really unsupported by facts or scientific evidence. In social debates, such fallacies are used to muddle issues and mislead the public.

That (1) “vapes are banned or unregulated by the government,” and (2) “the Vape Bill protects the youth” – are just two of many logical fallacies used by Vape Bill proponents to push their agenda. Recent pro-Vape Bill press releases are also replete with such lies.

First, vapes are currently not banned, but have been allowed to be sold for several years already. Thus, the Vape bill is not needed simply to make vapes available. It’s also not true that these products are unregulated. The regulatory system led by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took effect last May 25, as mandated by the Sin Tax Law of 2020 (RA 11467).

Second, the Vape Bill is not pro-youth. How can it be when it allows more flavors to flood the market by abolishing the RA 11467 provision that limits vapes to plain menthol and plain tobacco? And what could be more anti-youth than lowering the minimum age of access to e-cigs from 21 to 18?

And if in fact, the proponents really believe in regulation, then why are they silent about the Vape Bill’s provision removing the jurisdiction of FDA over vapes and transferring it to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)? What expertise does the DTI have in regulating products that are harmful to health?

I mentioned the false narratives of the Vape Bill camp in my letter to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, where I also echoed the stand of more than 60 medical associations, as well as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), and Department of Finance (DOF) through their former heads.

May all lies be unmasked. May the truth prevail. Veto the Vape Bill. #

Veto the Vape Bill press conference
Echoing the stand of over 60 medical associations and concerned government agencies, Senator Pia S. Cayetano makes a final appeal to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to veto the controversial Vape Deregulation Bill.

Pia at mga doktor, umaasa sa Vape Bill veto

Senadora Pia Cayetano at grupo ng mga doktor, naniniwalang ibe-veto ni Pangulong Duterte ang Vape Bill bilang kanyang ‘final act’ at ‘legacy’ para sa kalusugan

Patuloy na nananalig sina Senadora Pia Cayetano at isang grupo ng mga doktor na ibe-veto ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang kontrobersyal na Vape Bill bago ito opisyal na bumaba sa kanyang pwesto bukas, Hunyo 30.

Ayon kay Cayetano, matagal na n’yang kilala si outgoing President Duterte bilang isang health at anti-tobacco advocate. Kung kaya’t umaasa ang senadora na poposisyon ito para protektahan ang kalusugan ng bayan sa pamamagitan ng pag-veto sa Vape Bill.

Sa panayam naman ng RMN, sinabi ni Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo na bagama’t sa huling saglit isinumite ng Kamara sa Malacanang ang enrolled copy ng Vape Bill, ay naniniwala pa rin s’yang maaksyunan ito ng outgoing Chief Executive.

“Sa ating Pangulong Duterte, nananawagan po kami na i-veto po itong Vape Bill na naihain po ng Kongreso sa kanyang opisina na may dalawang araw na lang na natitira sa kanyang pagiging Pangulo. Ito po sana ang kanyang maging ‘last act’ at ‘legacy’ para sa kalusugan ng bayan,” panawagan ni Dr. Dorotheo, na miyembro ng committee on legislation ng Philippine Medical Association (PMA).

Sinabi naman sa isang panayam sa RMN ni Dra. Rizalina Gonzalez, maituturing si Pangulong Duterte bilang No.1 anti-smoking advocate. Aniya, naging modelo ang Davao City dahil sa mahigpit na ‘no smoking’ ordinance nito, na ginawa namang EO 26 nang maupo sa Malacanang ang long-time mayor ng Davao City.

Dagdag ni Dra. Gonzalez, nilagdaan din ni Pangulong Duterte ang Sin Tax Law of 2020, habang maraming beses din itong nagpahayag ng pagtutol sa vapes at e-cigarettes – lalo na sa pagkahumaling dito ng mga kabataan.

“Last day, last 24 hours. Meron pa pong panahon para gawin ang pinaka-importanteng dapat sa ating mga kabataan: i-veto po ang Vape Bill,” ayon Dra. Gonzalez, na syang chairperson ng Tobacco Control Group ng Philippine Pediatrics Society.

“Ako po ay naniniwala sa iyong magandang hangarin na sa huling araw n’yo ay may magagawa pa kayong mabuti para sa lahat ng ating kabataan sa Pilipinas,” pagtatapos ng doktora. #

Senator Pia Cayetano with public health advocates
Health advocates hand to Senator Pia Cayetano a giant prescription enumerating their urgent calls to protect people’s health, including the President’s veto of the controversial Vape Bill.

Pia calls on President Duterte: Veto the Vape Bill

Statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Principal sponsor, Sin Tax Law of 2020 (RA 11467)

I have received reliable information that the enrolled copy of the Vape Bill was officially transmitted to Malacañang by the House just this Friday, June 24, with barely three working days left before the term of outgoing President Rodrigo R. Duterte ends.

Five months have passed since the Senate and House approved the bicameral version of the Vape Bill on January 26. And so clearly, the transmittal of the bill at this late hour is a devious attempt to evade scrutiny by the outgoing administration, and to get the bill passed on to the next administration.

Despite the shortness of time, the President and his team can act on this before noon of June 30, when President Duterte’s term ends. Relevant agencies – including the Department of Health (DOH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and even the Department of Education (DepEd) have expressed their position to VETO the Vape Bill!

I reiterate my call and echo the appeal of medical associations and health groups, including DOH, FDA, and DepEd, for the President to veto the Vape Bill as one of his final acts of service to Filipinos. I know our President as a staunch health and anti-smoking advocate.

If passed, the Vape Bill that is masquerading as a health bill will promote vaping and overturn the protective measures we fought for under the Sin Tax Law, namely: (1) regulation is transferred from FDA to DTI; (2) minimum age of access to vapes is lowered from 21 to 18; and (3) more flavors allowed, instead of just plain tobacco and menthol.

Senator Pia Cayetano with public health advocates
“I reiterate my call and echo the appeal of medical associations and health groups, including DOH, FDA, and DepEd, for the President to veto the Vape Bill as one of his final acts of service to Filipinos. I know our President as a staunch health and anti-smoking advocate.”

It’s shocking, to say the least, if we consider how differently the US is addressing this vape pandemic. The US FDA recently banned Juul, and yet, here in the Philippines, we will loosen the restrictions by making the Vape Bill a law?

Ang Presidente ay Pangulo ng Pilipinas hanggang 11:59 ng Hunyo 30. Hanggang sa huling saglit ay umaasa ako na ipaglalaban nya ang kalusugan ng Pilipino. And this the President can do by vetoing the Vape Bill. Mahal na Pangulo wag n’yo pong pabayaan ang Pilipino. Veto the Vape Bill. #

Senator Pia Cayetano with doctors
“It’s shocking, to say the least, if we consider how differently the US is addressing this vape pandemic. The US FDA recently banned Juul, and yet, here in the Philippines, we will loosen the restrictions by making the Vape Bill a law?”