P25-M worth of illegal vapes seized Jan-May – DTI

MANILA – The government has confiscated more than PHP25 million worth of illegal vape products in the first five months of the year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reported on Saturday.

The DTI seized PHP25,874,175 worth of illegal vape products, surpassing the agency’s total illegal vape seizure for the entire 2023, amounting to PHP5,453,852.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual attributed these results to the department’s heightened enforcement of Republic Act (RA) 11900, or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act, also known as the Vape Law.

The majority of confiscated vape products violated Rule 6, Section 1(j), which strongly prohibits the sale of vape products that are packaged, labeled, presented, and marketed with flavor descriptors or cartoon characters that appeal to minors.

“Nearly halfway through the year, the significant rise in confiscated illegal vapes demonstrates our unwavering commitment to safeguard Filipino consumers, especially our youth. These results showcase our intensified efforts and we will not stop here,” Pascual said in a statement.

“We will continue to pursue these illegal activities, working closely with other agencies and stakeholders. Our aim is nothing less than the complete eradication of the illegal vape trade, fostering a healthier environment for Filipino businesses and consumers.”

Among the confiscated brands were 2,428 units of RELX worth PHP534,190, and 158 units of Waka by RELX worth PHP35,440.

In March, the DTI suspended the sale and distribution of the vape brand Flava due to repeated violations of RA 11900.

Additionally, a joint operation with the Philippine National Police in April yielded PHP24.8 million worth of illegal Flava vapes from an establishment located 20 meters from an elementary school in Parañaque City.

The DTI pointed out that this is a clear violation of the law prohibiting the sale of vapes within 100 meters of areas frequented by minors.

Pascual said the DTI has been intensifying its monitoring and enforcement efforts through the creation of Task Force Kalasag, which aims to crack down on uncertified consumer products.

“With the launch of Task Force Kalasag this year, we are intensifying consumer protection efforts nationwide. This crackdown on violations of the Vape Law and fair-trade laws and regulations assures the public of the DTI’s commitment to a safe and fair marketplace,” he said.

Since the implementation of the Vape Law in 2022, the DTI has seized 67,010 vape units from various brands, amounting to PHP31,328,027.

The department urged the public to report any illegal sale, manufacturing, and distribution of illicit vape products through podrs.gov.ph and or via [email protected]. (PNA)

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