DTI intensifies action against illegal vape sales to protect consumers

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has further intensified its monitoring and enforcement operations against violators of Republic Act No. 11900 or the “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

With its heightened enforcement operations, the DTI covers both physical and online stores, confiscating over 18,000 non-compliant vape products valued at approximately 5.5 million pesos.

Dedicated to protecting consumers, particularly minors, from illegal vape sales, the DTI has so far issued notices of violations (NOVs) and show cause orders (SCOs) to 269 physical stores, mandating them to submit a written explanation within 48 hours from their receipt of SCOs and NOVs.

Meanwhile, the Department’s online monitoring unit has inspected over 66,000 online vape stores as of January 2024. Out of the monitored firms, close to 61,000 were issued SCOs.

The DTI focuses on retailers that fail to ensure no minor is allowed to purchase vape. The DTI has issued NOVs and SCOs to retailers for failing to verify the age of buyers and for selling vape products that are packaged, labeled, presented, or marketed with flavor descriptors that unduly appeal to minors.

The DTI also flagged violators who used cartoons, anime, manga, animated characters, youth influencers, and personalities. More than 200 formal charges have been filed with the DTI, and administrative fines have been imposed on decided cases.

The DTI anticipates the effectivity of the mandatory certification and registration of vape products by June 5, 2024, and enforcement of product standards and product registration by 2025.

For now, the DTI fully utilizes the transition period for its nationwide efforts and campaign to ensure that manufacturers, distributors, importers, and retailers are well-educated on RA 11900 and its IRR.

The DTI continues to coordinate and extend full support to the Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, Local Government Units, and the Bureau of Customs in ensuring that all laws on vape products are fully and strictly implemented.

DTI Secretary Fred Pascual has reiterated that “[W]e are working double time on our enforcement operations to prevent the sale of vape to minors – that is our duty. Also, we will continue to work with our partner agencies and stakeholders to ensure that violators of RA 11900 and its IRR are penalized accordingly.

The DTI urges consumers to report violators through the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or consumercare@dti.gov.ph.

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