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Doctors want PNoy to ban e-cigarettes

THE biggest organization of medical doctors in the country believes President Benigno Aquino III, although a smoker, could still be a “crucial factor” in the fight against smoking as it called on him to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes because those are not safe. “He proved this once when he supported our advocacy to raise sin taxes to discourage our people, most especially the youth, from smoking,” Leo Olarte, president of the Philippine Medical Association, said on Sunday. “This was an action that we in the health sector are very thankful for. In the same manner, we are hoping that he can again support our move to stop this new and emerging threat of e-cigarettes to the health and lives of our people.” Olarte also urged Aquino to  order Interior Secretary  Manuel Roxas II to study the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory that “e-cigarettes are unregistered products.” The FDA says it has not registered any electronic cigarette products and will not register them as health products. PMA national treasurer Benito Atienza says the FDA advisory against e-cigarettes is actually a ban, but it is not being enforced because the FDA has limited resources. “It is disappointing to see in enclosed public places people who smoke e-cigarettes and expose the people around them to second-hand smoke,” Atienza said. PMA deputy secretary general Andy Reyes says e-cigarettes are addictive and contain carcinogens, formaldehyde and other deadly chemicals aside from nicotine. The PMA made its appeal to Aquino after the World Health Organization warned that the so-called nicotine replacement therapy provided by e-cigarettes is not safe for humans. Meanwhile, a group of throat cancer survivors is also asking legislators to revive a bill proposing graphic health warnings on cigarette packs to discourage people from smoking. Emer Rojas, president of the New Vois Association of the Philippines, urged legislators to re-file such a bill that did not make it during the 15th Congress. “As Congress reopens in a few days, we call on our leaders to strengthen their commitment to public health,” Rojas said. “We have shown in the past that despite the strong opposition from the big tobacco companies, we were able to push for the increase in the sin taxes. We can do it again by pressing for graphic health warnings,” said Rojas who speaks through a voice box after contracting laryngeal cancer through smoking.
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