DOH: Vapes don't help smokers quit

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, November 22, refuted claims that electronic cigarettes and vapes reduce tobacco harm and make smokers quit.

In an interview, DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo stressed that there have been no sufficient evidence recognized by international and local health authorities saying that vapes and e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation aids.

"It has never been approved as a smoking cessation aid. No country or regulatory agency has approved vapes as a smoking cessation aid. As a smoking cessation aid, it is really not recognized, not registered, nor regulated," said Domingo.

"Simply because there are no convincing evidence yet that can clearly prove that such products can make one stop smoking," he furthered.

Domingo said this is unlike some medically-recognized nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine gum, transdermal patch, spray, inhaler, and lozenges.

"There are other ways for us to cease smoking. We have the quitlines, smoking cessation programs, merong paggamit ng nicotine patch or gums, wherein no other chemicals will be entering your body," the health official said.

Domingo made the statement after reports came out that in the recent 7th annual E-Cigarette Summit in London, scientists and academicians presented their findings showing that e-cigarettes and vapes are an effective method to reduce tobacco harm and make smokers quit.

The report came on the heels of the announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte banning vaping in public places and the importation of such products.

According to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, the Health department is mandated to follow the marching orders of the President.

"We are supporting the President's public pronouncement being our President, the head of the executive branch of government. So, we will have to enforce it. We will have to make sure that this is followed to the letter," said Duque in a separate interview.

He said those with objections to Duterte’s verbal orders should just wait for the official orders from Malacañang.

"Let us also wait for the EO (Executive Order). That will really be clarifying all issues," said Duque. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)