DTI ramps up vape regulation, seeks lawmakers’ support

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is intensifying its efforts to regulate the vape industry in the Philippines, focusing on consumer safety, particularly for the youth.

In partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the DTI recently confiscated nearly PHP 25 million worth of illegal vape products in Parañaque City, demonstrating its commitment to eliminating harmful and unregulated products from the market.

Starting June 5, 2024, all vape products, both locally made and imported, must undergo mandatory certification to comply with the Philippine National Standards (PNS). This certification will ensure objectivity in inspection, verification, testing, and certification processes, adhering to good regulatory practices.

The DTI issued Department Administrative Order (DAO) 22-06 Series of 2022 on June 15, 2022, establishing the mandatory product certification for all vapor and nicotine products under Republic Act No. 11900, also known as the “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation” Act.

Supplemental guidelines are being finalized to ensure comprehensive coverage of this mandate.

Product testing, a crucial component of the DTI’s Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) certification schemes, includes thorough testing for various risks associated with vape devices, heated tobacco products (HTP) devices, secondary batteries, and battery chargers.

The testing process is overseen by a team of qualified professionals, including chemists, chemical engineers, and electrical/electronic engineers.

The DTI-BPS is collaborating with organizations such as the Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI), the Toxicological Nurses Association of the Philippines, and the Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology to explore further cooperation in product testing and evaluation.

Certified products will be identified with a Philippine Standard (PS) mark for locally made items, while imports will have Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) stickers.

Despite budget constraints, the DTI remains committed to establishing testing facilities for vape consumables (e-liquids). Funding proposals have been included in past and current budget requests.

Additionally, the DTI maintains close collaboration with the Department of Health’s Food and Drug Administration (DOH-FDA) to strengthen enforcement and ensure standardized testing for consumer safety.

Since the enactment of RA No. 11900 in 2022, the DTI has been actively implementing the law through issuing regulations, conducting inspections, and educating consumers and businesses. Under the leadership of DTI Secretary Fred Pascual, the DTI’s Consumer Protection Group remains dedicated to upholding consumer safety and ensuring a well-regulated vape industry through continuous stakeholder collaboration, rigorous enforcement of regulations, and comprehensive consumer education efforts.

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