Senate eyes passing sin tax bill soon to regulate vaping

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 3) — The proposed law increasing excise taxes on e-cigarettes may be approved by the Senate this month amid calls to regulate vaping. 

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said the upper chamber plans to pass the bill on November 11 or the following week. He said January 2020 would be the latest that it is approved by the plenary.

"Sagasa na yung regulation doon e (Regulation is already included) when we pass the sin tax amendments," Sotto said in a media briefing on Tuesday.

"Kailangan madaliin na rin natin usapan dito e kasi may mga umaangal na nagve-vape because gusto nila tumigil sa paninigarilyo... It's best that we regulate as soon as possible," he added.

[Translation: We need to fast-track discussions on this because vape users are already complaining since they want to quit smoking. It's best that we regulate as soon as possible.]

President Rodrigo Duterte certified as urgent Senate Bill No. 1074 in November, in hopes of raising additional revenues for the full implementation of the Universal Health Care Law. The proposed measure aims to hike the excise taxes on alcohol, heated tobacco, and vapor products, including electronic cigarettes.

The House of Representatives passed a counterpart measure in August.

Duterte earlier issued a verbal order banning the use and importation of vapes, sparking calls to regulate instead of completely prohibit vaping. Duterte later clarified vaping devices can still be used at home. Police have arrested more than 200 people nationwide for vaping in public.

READ:Duterte warns judges not to oppose vaping ban