DepEd urges Duterte to veto vape bill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 17) — The Department of Education joined health experts in taking a stand against the amended vape bill that awaits President Rodrigo Duterte's approval.

The vape regulation bill submitted by the Senate to Duterte late last year lowered the age of individuals allowed to buy and use e-cigarettes and vapes from 21 to 18.

Echoing the earlier statement of the Department of Health and dozens of medical associations, DepEd said Thursday that Duterte should veto the "anti-health" vape bill.

The agency noted that hundreds of thousands of senior high school students who are still in the process of maturing and learning could be legally targeted by advertisements of these "harmful products" if the bill becomes a law.

"We teach in schools how the part of the brain that is responsible for rational decisions does not fully develop until one is in their mid-twenties. Before that age, young people are very vulnerable to engaging in risky behaviors such as substance use and abuse," DepEd said in a statement.

It added, "If there will be any attempt to amend existing laws, it should be to increase the age of access to harmful products, not lower it."

The agency added that marketing e-cigarettes and vape as an alternative that can reduce the harm caused by smoking is of concern to DepEd.

"As we continue to implement a comprehensive tobacco control program in schools to safeguard the health of learners, DepEd is hopeful that our leaders and legislators will constantly champion a healthy lifestyle among our youth," DepEd said.