Smokers In The Philippines Urge Officials To End Their ‘Fearmongering’ On Vaping

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Former smokers in the Philippines relying on electronic cigarettes to satiate their nicotine cravings are urging the government to end their “fearmongering” on the health impacts of vaping.

Vaping is growing in popularity as an alternative for smokers in the country, which has a smoking rate of roughly 23.8 percent of the adult population. Medical bodies in the Philippines like the Department of Health and the Philippine College of Chest Physicians, however, largely reject the idea of tobacco harm reduction and do not recognize the health benefits of vaping over smoking combustible cigarettes, reports INQUIRER.net.

On the heels of a landmark review of existing scientific research on vapor products by Public Health England, vaping groups in the country are asking these health bodies to reexamine their hostile attitude towards alternative smoking products.

“Listen to the experts,” said Tom Pinlac, president of the The Vapers Philippines, according to INQUIRER.net. “It is time for the Department of Health to look into this report so that they can recommend e-cigarettes and heated-tobacco products to smokers who want to quit. Educate smokers about vaping and heated-tobacco products instead of resorting to fearmongering.”

Vaping advocates in the country argue that instead of blocking life saving information from the roughly 17 million smokers in the Philippines, public health officials should embrace the potential to cut smoking rates to historic lows through alternative technologies.

Public Health England published an independent review of existing research on electronic cigarettes Feb.6 from experts in the tobacco field, which shows the devices are improving the quit rate of smokers in the U.K. and accelerating annual declines in the country’s smoking rate.

Researchers estimate that roughly 20,000 smokers in the U.K. are using e-cigarettes to quit smoking each year. The review also confirmed previous research showing vaping eliminates roughly 95 percent of the health risks associated with smoking, because the majority of harmful chemicals and carcinogens are only released through the combustion of tobacco.

“It is said that 87,000 deaths every year are attributed to smoking-related diseases,” said Edward Gatchalian, president of Philippine E-Liquid Manufacturers Association, according to INQUIRER.net. “Smokers should switch to vaping or tobacco-heated products if they want to kick the habit of smoking. This is a very clear message embodied in the PHE (Public Health England) report.”

President Rodrigo Duterte enacted a nationwide ban on public smoking in the Philippines through an executive order in May 2017, but it does not yet apply to vaping devices.

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