Notwithstanding the forthcoming implementation of Republic Act 10643, the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) is pushing for the placement of graphic health warnings (GHWs) in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) packs.
According to NVAP President Emer Rojas, the e-cigarettes should also bear picture warnings since recently they are identified to contain chemicals that in posing health risks to users.
“There is also a need for picture warnings to be placed in the e-cigarette packs since new research shows evidence of some dangers in using electronic cigarettes,” said Rojas.
“The public needs to be aware on the use of e-cigarettes much like how they are being forewarned by GHWs in regular cigarettes,” he added.
In a research commissioned by Japan’s Health Ministry, it found carcinogens, such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, in the vapour produced by several types of e-cigarette liquid.
In particular, the study pointed that formaldehyde in e-cigarettes was present at much higher levels than what is found in the smoke from regular cigarettes. Formaldehyde is a substance also found in building materials and embalming fluids.
Other adverse health effects found to stem from e-cigarettes are nausea, headache, cough, and mouth/throat irritation.
The e-cigarette is made of plastic and metal device that heat a liquid nicotine solution (e-juice) in a disposable cartridge while creating a tiny light on the tip mimicking a lighted real cigarette. It also produces a vapor that simulates tobacco smoke.
The use of e-cig has become increasingly popular among Filipinos in recent years despite the absence of scientific evidence to confirm the product’s safety and efficacy as seen with the mushrooming of retail stalls selling e-cigs inside big malls all over the country.
Presently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to come out with its own regulations of the product, although it has issued some advisories.
Based on FDA Advisory No. 2013-008, the FDA said the public is advised not to use e-cigarettes as its presence is opposed to the goal to stop cigarette smoking and tobacco use.
The FDA added that it has not registered any electronic cigarette products and will not register them as health products.
Rojas said that if pictures similar to GHWs are placed in e-cigarette packs, people may also have second thoughts in trying e-cigs.
“E-cigarettes are being promoted by some dealers as ideal nicotine replacement therapy (NRTs) gadgets for those who want to quit smoking. But are they really the healthier option for smokers? Obviously, recent studies do not show it as such,” said the foremost anti-smoking advocate.
The NVAP chief opined that if smokers really want to quit smoking, the best way is for them to simply stop instantaneously.
“The best way to avoid getting sick is to simply stop smoking and don’t switch to vaping,” said Rojas.