Philippine President Publicly Announces Ban on glass pipes
On November 21, according to foreign media reports, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday local time that after a teenager developed lung disease from glass pipes for sale, he would stop importing glass pipes for smoking and ban their use in public places.
"I will ban the use and import of glass pipes for smoking," Duterte said at a news conference on Tuesday night. "I now order law enforcement agencies to arrest anyone who smokes glass pipes for smoking in public.
He said glass pipes for smoking contain "nicotine and other chemicals we do not know."
Duterte's e-cigarette ban came just days after the Philippine Health Department said a teenager in the middle of the country who had been smoking e-cigarettes for six months and was still smoking was diagnosed with lung injury. This mysterious disease may be the first in Asia, causing nearly 40 deaths and nearly 2,000 suffering in the United States.
Lung injury has rapidly changed the attitude of global regulators towards the emerging electronic cigarette industry. Electronic cigarettes were once considered an effective tool to help smokers quit smoking, but now about 30 countries, including India and Brazil, prohibit the use of glass pipes for smoking.
Duterte's statement was unexpected because Philippine Finance Minister Carlos Dominguez said just last month that the Philippines is unlikely to ban glass pipes for smoking but may impose higher taxes. Electronic cigarette manufacturers such as Juul Labs regard the Philippines as a promising market in Southeast Asia.
On Tuesday, dominguez asked lawmakers to pass a proposal to impose a higher tax on glass pipes for smoking before Duterte formally issues an executive order on the ban.
The holding company of Philippine billionaire Chen Yongzai is LT Group, and its tobacco department is Philip Morris International's partner in the Philippines. LT Group rose for the second consecutive day, rising 2.9% on wednesday. JG Summit's subsidiary cooperated with Juul and fell as much as 1% that day.
Duterte has banned smoking in closed public places less than a year after taking office in June 2016.
The Philippine Ministry of Health issued a statement on November 15 saying that a 16-year-old boy was admitted to the intensive care unit last month due to sudden shortness of breath. She was diagnosed as "vapor-related lung injury" and met the "glass pipes hand blown-related lung injury" standard of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She was discharged after treatment.
The reason is unknown.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been trying to find out the exact cause of the disease and has not yet attributed it to any product or equipment. However, the extraction of electronic cigarette liquid from black market source liquid or cigarette liquid used with marijuana-derived tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been subject to strict examination.
According to reports, so far, the disease has been confined to North America. Experts believe that deaths caused by the disease may be rare in countries that ban suspicious products such as tetrahydrocannabinol.
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