Lawmakers want to regulate e-cigarettes

MANILA, Philippines – Three lawmakers filed a bill seeking to regulate the use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

AKO Bicol Representatives Rodel Batocabe, Alfredo Garbin Jr, and Christopher Co filed House Bill (HB) Number 3330 or the Vaporized Nicotine Product Regulation Act of 2016. (READ: Can PH regulate its e-cigarette industry?)

E-cigarettes are battery-run devices puffed like regular tobacco cigarettes and emit vapor into the air. The process – called vaping – is done through the vaporization of what is commonly known as e-juice.

The e-juice may or may not contain nicotine, depending on the preference of the user. The e-juice also comes in different flavors. (READ: The unbearable lightness of vaping

E-cigarettes are meant to be a safer alternative to cigarette smoking because they supposedly do not contain any of the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. 

The lawmakers, however, cited the risks of vaping.

“These vaporized nicotine products used for ‘vaping,’ as millennials so fondly call it, may be safer than conventional smoking but that is not wholly true. These products still carry risk with them, as the technology used may still be defective and the substance used still contains nicotine,” said Batocabe. 

He said that e-cigarettes pose the risk of exploding batteries and electrical defects. Some e-juices, added the lawmaker, may contain amounts of harmful substances like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and other “potentially toxic nanoparticiles from the vaporizing mechanism.” 

Under HB 3330, e-cigarette manufacturers would be required to register their products with the Department of Trade and Industry for quality control.

The proposed measure would also order the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to create a new product category to remove e-cigarettes under the health-related devices category. This, Batocabe said, would take away the “rigidity of medicine licensing but with stricter standards than consumer product regulation.”

E-cigarette packaging would also include a warning, saying, “This product may damage your health and is addictive.” 

The FDA had expressed concern over the potential health risks of vaping. Then-FDA director Kenneth Hartigan Go said the industry will have to present efficacy papers based on a clinical trial to back up its claims on the benefits of using e-cigarettes.  

There is also a lack of scientific consensus on vaping globally, with studies and scientists contradicting each other regarding the safety, benefits, and harms of vaping. 

“Health claims, such as reduced exposure to disease and reduced risk, can only be made subject to the approval of the FDA and based on scientifically validated tests. This will prevent the assertion of misleading claims to the public,” said Batocabe, Garbin, and Co in their explanatory note. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.