Vape product seizures hit P5.5 million

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Tuesday that it confiscated vape products valued at P5.5 million over non-compliance with rules governing the industry.

“(W)e are working double time on our enforcement operations to prevent the sale of vaping products to minors — that is our duty. Also, we will continue to work with our partner agencies and stakeholders to ensure that violators of Republic Act (RA) 11900 are penalized accordingly,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said in a statement.

The DTI monitored physical and online stores, which resulted in the seizure of over 18,000 non-compliant items.

The DTI is enforcing RA 11900 or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act, having issued notices of violation and show-cause orders to 269 physical stores.

Meanwhile, the department also inspected over 66,000 online vape stores, 61,000 of which were issued show-cause orders.

According to the DTI, those who were issued notices of violation or show-cause orders will have to submit a written explanation within 48 hours from notification.

The violations include improper packaging and labeling in a manner designed to “unduly appeal to minors,” it said.

“The DTI also flagged violators who used cartoons, anime, manga, animated characters, youth influencers, and personalities,” it added

RA 11900 prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products to those below 18 and regulates packaging deemed particularly attractive to minors.

DTI said that 200 formal charges have been filed which are subject to administrative fines if violations are found.

“The DTI anticipates the effectivity of the mandatory certification and registration of vape products by June 5, and enforcement of product standards and product registration by 2025,” the department said.

Late last month, advocacy group Quit for Good cited instances of marketing to minors which it said was uncovered by an ongoing investigation of the House Committee on Ways and Means. — Justine Irish D. Tabile