(File photo)

MANILA – The congressional bicameral conference committee on Wednesday approved a measure that would regulate the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use, and communication of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, as well as novel tobacco products.

The panel, composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate contingents led by Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian and Senate President Pro Tempore Senator Ralph Recto, respectively, approved the report reconciling the disagreeing provisions of House Bill 9007 and Senate Bill 2239.

During the conference meeting, House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said the measure aims to offer an alternative for Filipinos who want to quit smoking.

Recto, however, noted that while Congress intends to push for the shift from smoking to vaping, the bill does not back its promotion “as a lifestyle.”

With the enactment of the bill into law, posts, messages, or images by manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers that encourage the purchase and use of vape products would be prohibited.

The bill mandates the Department of Health to prescribe guidelines on the implementation of smoking and vaping restriction awareness campaigns.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), meanwhile, would consult with the Food and Drug Administration in setting technical standards for the safety, consistency, and quality of vape products.

Manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sellers would then be given an 18-month transitory period from the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations to comply with the requirements of the measure.

This would include the registration of the vape products with the DTI.

The report is up for ratification by both the House and the Senate. (PNA)