July 4, 2023 – The recent industry spin that promotes e-cigarettes as a solution for adult smokers is merely a distraction from the bigger problem caused by the industry itself: the addiction of Filipino teens to vaping, according to the group Child Rights Network.
“Let’s not be swayed by the industry’s message that Filipinos have successfully quit smoking cigarettes due to the introduction of heated tobacco products. The introduction of these products has actually given rise to a more significant problem: teen vape and nicotine addiction. According to the latest Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 1 in 7 Filipino students aged 13-15 use vapes or e-cigarettes,” said Mr. Romeo Dongeto, Child Rights Network Convenor and Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development.
Mr. Dongeto said that there is an excessive attribution of the smoking decline to the existence of heated tobacco products when, in reality, it is the substantial contribution of recent tobacco control laws, particularly tax increases, that is driving down smoking prevalence in the Philippines.
“Suddenly, they are concerned about people quitting smoking because they now have replacement products. Where were they in encouraging Filipinos to quit when vapes and e-cigarettes didn’t exist?” Mr. Dongeto said.
“Remember that heated tobacco products still contain tobacco and harmful chemicals and substances, especially nicotine, which is addictive. We should call out the industry for whitewashing the harmful effects of substances found in heated tobacco products and vapes,” he added.
The Child Rights Network urges the public to remain vigilant.
“We are well aware that the tobacco industry has the financial resources to employ skilled manipulators. Their branding of e-cigarettes as a gift to smokers is one example. They were never truly committed to achieving a smoke-free Philippines. This is solely driven by profit. They no longer care about adult smokers quitting because they have replacement products and they have found a new market: young people as replacement smokers,” Mr. Dongeto concluded.