Duterte urged anew to veto vape bill

Medical groups renewed their call to President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the proposed measure seeking to lower the age limit of access to vaporized nicotine products to 18 from 21.,Doctors from various organizations on Wednesday said the measure would merely expose the Filipino youth to harmful products, contrary to vape supporters’ claim that it reduces health risks.,“It is not harm reduction, but a dangerous nicotine trap,” said Dr. Rizalina Gonzalez, chair of the Philippine Pediatric Society Tobacco Control Advocacy Group. “This is a harmful introduction to our teens and young adults.”,Gonzalez said limiting vape products to Filipinos aged 21 and above was important to keep the youth from the “hazardous habit” of smoking, noting that it would be “very hard” for teenagers to recover from addiction.,Dr. Minerva Calimag, president of the Philippine Medical Association, also stressed in the media briefing that the vape bill should be vetoed since “we cannot risk endangering the health and safety of Filipinos, especially the youth.”,Vetoing the bill in the final stretch of Duterte’s term would preserve his legacy of fighting addiction, according to medical groups.,Child Rights Network convenor Romeo Dongeto also urged the President to reject the proposed measure once it reaches his desk, as he described it as a “product of the tobacco industry’s moneyed lobbying efforts.”,The measure was ratified by Congress’ bicameral conference committee on 25 January, but it has yet to be transmitted to the Office of the President as of Wednesday.,The Palace has yet to say whether Duterte would approve or junk the bill before he bows out of office on 30 June.,“We call on Congress to immediately transmit the bill. Almost half a year has passed since its ratification,” Dongeto said through a separate statement.,“And once the vape bill reaches your desk, Mr. President, on behalf of child rights advocates in the country, we implore you: veto this toxic legislation that has been the product of the tobacco industry’s moneyed lobbying efforts,” he added.