Senator Pia Cayetano has sent a letter urging President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to veto the Vape Bill which lapsed into law on July 24.
A copy of the letter dated July 20, 2022, was provided to members of the Senate Media on July 21.
“I am submitting this letter ad cautelam (with caution for safety sake) to raise substantial and procedural issues arising from the enrolled bill of the “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act,” also referred to as the “Vape Bill,” said Cayetano in her letter to the President.
She warned that the failure of former President Rodrigo Duterte to sign or veto the bill before the end of his term would create a serious constitutional issue on the validity of a “law” enacted by a Congress without official authority.
“We are placed in a legal quandary of having a bill passed by a Congress, composed of different members, that has been rendered functus officio (no further official authority) by its final adjournment, and submitted to the President whose term has ended, being signed into law by a new President,” Cayetano said.
“As a health advocate, lawyer, and member of Congress, I am of the sentiment that we should avoid technicalities such as these as much as possible, when courts would be constrained to rule on the laws that we make,” she said.
Even setting the procedural and possible constitutional issues aside, Cayetano said she believes that the President should veto the Vape Bill due to its bad effects on the health of our people.
These hazards, she noted, are apparent from the changes the Vape Bill will bring about in our legal and regulatory framework on the industry of vapes and Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs), as further discussed below.
She related that the proponents of the Vape Bill anchor their position on: (1) vapes and HTPs as being effective cessation tools from cigarette smoking; and (2) the need to regulate the industry.
But the senator said these arguments are fatally flawed because they remove the protective measures from the Vape Bill, including the following key safeguards; jurisdiction to regulate vapes and HTPs will be transferred from the FDA to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); and the prohibition to sell to persons below the age of 21
The Vape Bill was approved by the 18th Congress, which had its final adjournment on 31 May 2022.  The term of its members, both from the House of Representatives and twelve of the members from the Senate, had also ended on 30 June 2022, the same time President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s term as President end
According to Cayetano, it is incomprehensible how the DTI would perform the task of determining the safety of the products that will be on the market.
By its very mandate, she said the FDA that has the power and the expertise to regulate this industry.
She stressed the DTI does not have the mandate and the expertise to determine the health effects of any product, let alone these sin products, which are detrimental to public health.
She also pointed out that the US FDA rejected 55,000 flavored e-cigarettes due to lack of evidence that they have a benefit to adult smokers.