Philippines Vape Regulation: DTI Law Takes Effect June 2024

Philippines Vape Regulation DTI Law

As the new Vape Law is set to take effect in June, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is gearing up to enforce stricter regulations on the vape industry in the Philippines. DTI Undersecretary Amanda Nograles announced at a forum organized by Bantay Konsumer, Kalsada, Kuryente (BK3) in Makati that all vape products must be registered with the agency, and importation and manufacturing of vaporized nicotine, non-nicotine products, and novel tobacco products will now undergo a rigorous certification process.

Mandatory Certification and Transition Period

To ensure compliance with the Philippine National Standards (PNS), all vape products, both locally-made and imported, must obtain the Philippine Standard (PS) mark and Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) sticker before they can be sold on the market. Nograles mentioned that at least three companies have already applied for registration and urged others to begin the process, as it may take some time.

The DTI has set a 6-month transition period to allow firms to comply with the new regulations. “We will allow them to sell all the existing inventory. On January 5, 2025, we will do market clearing. There should be no vape products without a PS license and ICC [sticker],” Nograles explained.

PS license and ICC sticker

Collaboration with Other Government Agencies

The DTI is working closely with other government agencies to enforce the new Vape Law effectively. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will begin affixing tax stamps on vape products starting next week (June 1, 2024), similar to the stamps used on imported cigarettes and alcohol drinks. This measure aims to prevent the spread of unregulated products across the country.

Atty. Venus Gaticales, Chief of the BIR Excise Large Taxpayers Field Operations Division, stated, “Enforcing the affix of excise stamp tax beginning June 1 on vape products could be a great help not only for BIR, but also on the business or vape industry.”

The DTI is also collaborating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to crack down on illegal vape products. Recently, they seized nearly PHP 25 million worth of illegal vape products in Paranaque City, demonstrating their commitment to removing harmful and unregulated products from the market.

Protecting the Youth and Increasing Tax Collection

The government’s primary goals in implementing the new Vape Law are to protect children from the dangers of vaping and to increase tax collection. The BIR reported revenue losses of over P25 billion in 2023 due to smuggled cigarettes, and a study suggests that this amount will increase in the coming years.

BIR Commissioner Romeo Lumagui Jr. urged the public to report any incidents of smuggling to the authorities, citing a recent discovery of homes converted into warehouses for smuggled cigarettes in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur, with a corresponding P219 million tax liability.

DTI’s Commitment to Consumer Safety

The DTI is prioritizing consumer safety, especially for the youth, in its efforts to regulate the vape industry. The Department is establishing mandatory product certification, conducting inspections, and educating consumers and businesses to ensure a well-regulated vape industry.

Product testing is a critical component of the DTI’s Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) certification schemes, with a team of qualified professionals overseeing the testing process for various risks associated with vape devices, heated tobacco products (HTP) devices, secondary batteries, and battery chargers.

Despite budgetary constraints, the DTI is committed to establishing testing facilities for vape consumables (e-liquids) and is working closely with the Department of Health’s Food and Drug Administration (DOH-FDA) to strengthen enforcement and ensure standardized testing for consumer safety.

DTI Secretary Fred Pascual, through the Consumer Protection Group, has pledged to uphold consumer safety and ensure a well-regulated vape industry through continuous collaboration with stakeholders, rigorous enforcement of regulations, and comprehensive consumer education efforts.

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New vape rules to take effect in June

Matthew Ma