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Cops to arrest vape users

Following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte banning the use and importation of e-cigarette or vape, the Davao Police Regional Office yesterday began its operation to arrest vape users in the public.

Major Jason Baria, PRO 11 spokesperson, said they received the order from higher headquarters on Wednesday to arrest vape users and crackdown vape stores.

But Baria said they are coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Business Bureau in shutting down stores selling vapes.

“The (police) alone cannot immediately subject vape stores for closure hence we need coordination with other agencies because it is an abrupt directive and some vape stores have permits,” Baria said.

Baria said they are using both Executive Order 26-2017, which bats for a smoke-free country, and City Ordinance 0367-2012, which prohibits smoking in public places, in arresting vape users in public.

President Duterte issued the ban on vape use in line with the government’s power to protect public health and public interest.

He said the use of electronic cigarettes in public is “dangerous” as it contains unknown chemicals.

On Nov. 15, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed the first case of e-cigarette-associated lung injury (EVALI) in the country. A 16-year-old girl from the Visayas, a vape user for six months while also using regular cigarette, was hospitalized in late October, requiring intensive care after severe shortness of breath.

Following the incident, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo has advised no e-cigarette product be accessible to young children and adolescents.

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