The Phillipines has one of the highest smoking rates in the world. Nearly one quarter of the population smokes tobacco products. As awareness of the public health issues that traditional smoking raises, health officials in the Philippines have been desperate for ways to lower the smoking rate. And until recently, those efforts have actively ignored vaping as a smoking alternative.
Tobacco Harm Reduction
The concept of tobacco harm reduction proposes that the solution to tobacco problems is best approached with reduction in mind, rather than elimination. “All or nothing” policies around the world have largely failed.
The Philippine Health Department and Philippine College of Chest Physicians have long been unwilling to see vaping as a viable alternative to traditional smoking. However, this is starting to change.
The National Tobacco Control Strategy
As part of the Philippine’s national strategy on tobacco control, the House of Representatives has made a push for the acceptance of vaping products.
The fear, according to various vaping advocacy groups within the Philippines, is that since vaping devices are currently subject to the same warnings and restrictions that govern traditional tobacco products, consumers may conflate the two.
The motion to consider vaping an alternative to smoking rather than a version of it was unanimous, showing a major shift of attitude in the Philippines. The House cited studies and recommendations by the Harvard School of Public Health, the University of Massachusetts, and the U.K. Royal College of Physicians. Independent studies from Cancer Research U.K. and Public Health England also influenced the House’s decision.
What does this all mean?
Research into vaping has really gotten going in recent years. As more institutions give vaping the proper consideration, more evidence surfaces as to its uses and differences from traditional smoking. Now this data is beginning to find its way to previously unreached markets. The Philippines is starting to take notice of the latest research surfacing from the U.K. and the U.S. and attitudes there are shifting. A unanimous endorsement of the viability of vaping products from the House of Representatives is a positive marker for the acceptance of vaping as a smoking alternative in the Philippines. The market there will continue to grow and in a few years, vaping may find itself a home in the Philippines.