On what grounds? Netizens weigh in on Duterte’s vaping ban

"Is this even legal? What law are they breaking exactly?"

On Tuesday, November 19, President Rodrigo Duterte stated he would ban the use and importation of e-cigarettes and vape devices. This came after the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first case of e-cigarette or vape-associated lung injury (Evali) last Friday, November 15.

Additionally, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced they would arrest vape users starting Wednesday, November 20, even without a written executive order from the President. PNP Lieutenant-General Archie Gamboa also admitted the police had no legal basis for their arrests and filing complaints. This would not be the first time the President issued a high-stakes directive only verbally.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III also told Rappler the department was "1000%" in support of the ban, stating it would prevent vaping-related illnesses and deaths in the Philippines. A September 2019 report found more than 500 cases of vaping-related illnesses in the United States, and a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that e-cigarette users can suffer lung damage that resembled chemical burns.

While a handful of netizens shared they were against vaping for health and other personal reasons, many felt the arrests were unjustified given the lack of legal basis and due process.

“Arrests should warrant under the premises of violations of the law. If there's none, then it's [a] human rights violation,” netizen Don Tiburcio Dela Mancha wrote.

Others compared the vaping ban to Executive Order No. 26, which bans smoking in public areas. EO 26 is the PNP's only basis for the arrests, but it does not explicitly include e-cigarettes. A number of netizens cited the inefficient implementation of the smoking ban, which caused them to doubt the possible success of the vaping ban.

Duterte also warned the judiciary against interfering with his crackdown on vape users Wednesday night. Filipinos online criticized this move, as it undermines the judicial branch, despite being co-equal to the executive branch.

Some netizens even explicitly mentioned the recently appointed Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, awaiting his possible reaction to the President undermining the judicial branch. Peralta has previously never voted against the Chief Executive in cases that directly impacted his administration.

Several netizens also felt the ban was another diversion tactic of the President.

Here’s what other netizens had to say:

Do you agree with the President’s vape ban? Sound off in the comments! – Rappler.com

Gaby Baizas

Gaby Baizas is a digital communications specialist at Rappler. Journalism is her first love, social media is her second—here, she gets to dabble in both. She hopes people learn to read past headlines the same way she hopes punk never dies.

image