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Press Release - Statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano (On the confiscated cannabis-infused disposable vapes)

I am alarmed by the recent seizure of a parcel containing millions worth of assorted cannabis-infused disposable vapes in one of our ports by the Bureau of Customs, exposing a growing dangerous trend in the vaping community.

As it is, there are already thousands of unknown harmful chemicals found in vapes. The addition of cannabis - which remains an illegal substance in the country - exacerbates these already grave health risks, especially among our youth.

Just recently, the country documented its first death due to e-cigarette or vape-associated lung injury (EVALI), a 22-year-old male who was said to have used vapes daily for two years.

Sadly, as a dire consequence of the Vape Law, we are now faced with this "vapedemic" that particularly affects young people. This is a direct result of three critical flaws in the law: (1) lowering the age of access from 21 to 18, (2) removing flavor restrictions, and (3) designating the Department of Trade and Industry as the lead regulator, instead of the health-focused Food and Drug Administration.

I have opposed this legislation and voted against it, precisely warning about this scenario that is now unfolding before our eyes - young students, some as young as 13-years-old, are falling prey to vapes and e-cigarettes. Now, they are also at risk of getting addicted to cannabis.

We must act swiftly to protect our children and our communities from these emerging threats before it's too late. The alarming crisis of youth vaping and potential addiction to illicit drugs demand our urgent attention.

This is a glaring reminder for us to stay vigilant and proactive in safeguarding public health.