Metro Manila News
Filipino vapers laud Quebec court’s decision rejecting anti-vaping law provisions
LOCAL vaping groups welcomed the Superior Court of Quebec’s recent decision rejecting key sections of the Tobacco Control Act adopted by the Quebec government in 2015, which sought to treat vaping products essentially the same as cigarettes.
In his decision handed down on May 3, 2019 Justice Daniel Dumais accepted that cigarette smoking is a significant cause of preventable illness and death and declared that the evidence presented convinced the court that electronic cigarettes have been shown to be effective, for some people, in their efforts to quit smoking.
The court was also convinced, in accordance with evidence presented, that using electronic cigarettes is less harmful to health than ordinary cigarettes; that it is better to vape than to smoke tobacco; and that vaping is a valid method to quit smoking.
The decision recognizes vaping as a form of harm reduction as it allows people who would otherwise smoke lethal cigarettes to get the nicotine they need or want without the inhalation of smoke.
As the harm from cigarette use is overwhelmingly due to the inhalation of smoke rather than the nicotine, the decision underscores important lessons for harm reduction.
The Quebec Superior Court is the highest trial Court in the province of Quebec in Canada.
It is composed of 157 justices, including a Chief Justice, a Senior Associate Chief Justice, and an Associate Chief Justice.
This recent development prompted the Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) led by its president, Joey Dulay to air their groups plea for
the Philippine Health department to consider the "emerging evidence supporting tobacco harm reduction and to be mindful of consumer rights".
"Like Quebec’s anti-vaping law, the recent Department of Health administrative order considers e-cigarettes as essentially the same as cigarettes, Dulay said in a statement sent to Metro News Central.
Dulay is referring to DOH A.O. No. 2019-0007 released on June 14, 2019 which, among others, bans any form of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of vaping products; bans vaping in places where smoking is prohibited; sets guidelines and requirements for designated vaping areas that are identical with those for designated smoking areas; and prohibits the purchase, sale and offering for sale of e-cigarettes in places where sale and use of cigarettes are prohibited.
Meanwhile, another vaping group, The Vapers Philippines through its president Peter Paul Dator said that the Quebec court decision "underscores the inviolable right of consumers to be provided with accurate and complete information on and access to all available products so that they are able to make informed choices".
It is a strong affirmation of the validity of tobacco harm reduction and sets an important legal precedent that will have persuasive value in other countries, including the Philippines,”Dator explained in a statement released to media recently.
Vaping ban is a human rights violation
Among other things, Quebec’s Tobacco Control Act prohibited the promotion of vaping products and banned trials of such products at retailers.
The Quebec Superior Court declared that these prohibitions prevented cigarette smokers in Quebec from hearing about the health benefits of switching to vaping products, from learning about how to use vaping products and from finding a product that is maximally able to replace their cigarettes.
The court further stated that denying smokers the option of trying vaping products in shops or in clinics is a violation of their rights, depriving them of access to a mechanism designed to reduce their risks and better protect their health.
The court found that the legislated restrictions ignored the fact that the public, particularly smokers, do not distinguish between smoking and vaping.
In effect, the court acknowledged that it is sometimes necessary to educate and make people aware that vaping exists above all for smokers.
Thus, those measures that prevented the display and trialing of products in vape shops and the communication of information to cigarette smokers on the relative risks of such products were violations of fundamental rights.
Respect human rights, empower consumers
According to Dator, the Quebec court’s decision is part of a global trend of courts striking down measures that seek to limit access to risk reduction strategies.
He cited a recent Swiss Federal Supreme Court decision that used reasoning similar to the Quebec court decision in striking down a ban on snus, a low risk non-combustible Swedish tobacco product.
Dator also pointed out that vaping products remain available in the US market as a result of a 2010 ruling by Judge Richard Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the Sottera Inc. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration case.
Dator cited the position of Prof. David Sweanor of the University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics. “Moralistic abstinence-only policies, including those for nicotine, have a long history of being ineffective, undermining human rights and being ultimately overturned by courts.
Far better to focus on effective rather than dramatic interventions, to seek to empower rather than to punish those at risk and to promote policies that respect human dignity and promote individual human rights.
The success of the integrated transport system will result in a higher number of commuters and reduce traffic congestion and pollution. An integrated transport hub is now in the offing with the aim to address traffic woes in the city, Marikina City ...
The district of Binondo in Manila is cautious on the possible entry of coronavirus especially in light of the festivities connected with the Chinese New Year on January 25. Given that many people are expected to troop on the streets during the ...
The air quality management technical working group led by the Department of Public Services (DPS) intalled three air-quality sensors in Manila. This is part of the "Air Blue Skies Program," a partnership program between Clean Air Asia, 3M ...
AB Capital Securities is holding a free introductory seminar on the Philippine Stock Market on January 29, 4 p.m. at the brokerage firm's headquarters in Bonifacio Global City. To get tickets, just head to the event’s page on the company&rs...
Kinilala sa kanyang gawa ang traffic enforcer ng Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) matapos mag-viral dahil sa pagbuhat sa isang 5-taong gulang na batang lalaki papunta sa isang ospital. Pinuri ni MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim si MMDA Traff...
The new record-high “excellent” public satisfaction with President Rodrigo Duterte’s performance proves that Filipinos are impressed with his “legacy of real change,” according to Presidential Communications Operations O...