PHA says ‘no’ to vaping


“Vaping is not just bad for the lungs. It also damages the heart and the brain. Vape or any form of e-cigarette is not a good alternative to smoking,“ according to the 2007-member Philippine Heart Association (PHA).

There is a strong link between smoking/vaping and diseases of the heart and the blood vessels.

“There is no gray zone here. E-cigarette users are more susceptible to major health problems – 34% are more likely to have a heart attack; 25% are more likely to have coronary artery disease; 30% are more likely to have stroke; and 55% are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety,” PHA immediate past President Dr. Orlando Bugarin told reporters at the virtual “No to Vape Bill” presser called by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) recently via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Junk the Vape Bill because it is “anti-health and regressive” and why the rush to pass it amid the COVID-19 crisis, moaned the 60 medical community members composed of multi-disciplinary doctors, advocacy groups and health reform organizations.

Bugarin and PHA Director Dr. Richard Henry Tiongco II represented PHA at the prescon.

PCP President Dr. Maricar Limpin voiced out stern opposition to deregulation from the Food Drug Administration to the Department of Trade and Industry, easing restrictions on flavors, allowing vaping in schools, hospitals, public places; absence of ban on sale to non-smokers; and lowering of age limit from 21 to 18 years for who may be allowed to purchase and use these products.

Senate Bill (SB) No. 2239 is an act “Regulating the Importation, Manufacture, Sale, Packaging, Distribution, Use, And Communication of Vapor Products and Heated Tobacco Products”, which is being “fast-tracked” amid the pandemic while its counterpart House Bill No. 9007 was passed without the recommendation of the health sector, the group lamented.

Recent data from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Agency recorded 2,807 hospitalized cases or deaths due to tethrahydrocannabinol (the psychoactive substance that produces the “high” associated with smoking marijuana and can also lead to central nervous system depression) and vitamin E acetate (the substance has been acknowledged as a potential toxin that remains in the lungs for a long period of time) were strongly linked to E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI), were also cited by Bugarin.


Time and again, the PHA stresses the benefits of making each Filipino abode a strong foundation for healthy lifestyle practices. It is best to embed the value of “0 smoking” (which should also include 0 vaping) in kids early on.

From the sidelines of the prescon, PHA President Dr. Gilbert Vilela told Republika that everyone whether an adolescent or an adult is expected to have the wisdom and doggedness to go for healthy options. “Life is always a choice. It is how you make it. Bad habits and vice are like flat tires. You won’t get anywhere with them.” He is also the director of Education, Training and Research of the Philippine Heart Center and is the secretary of the Philippine Society of Hypertension.

According to Tiongco, “the nicotine in cigarettes and e-cigarettes results in cholesterol build-up in the arteries leads to atherosclerosis which can lead to serious problems including heart attack, stroke or even death. They also contain toxic chemicals that elevates your BP and spikes adrenaline that may results in a heart attack.”

Adolescents are inherently impressionable. Dr. Kristine Latorre, immediate past president of the Philippine Neurology Association, said that “the young’s inability to make rightful judgment, desire to conform with their peers plus the slow brain progression in teens may lead them to wrong choices. The brain is still developing at 18 and won’t be fully developed till age 25.”

They easily give in peer pressure and love to try something cool to chill so these vapes that come in a medley of flavors are irresistible.

“The top three reasons for using e-cigarettes among the youth are: a friend or a family member uses e-cigarette, availability of flavors such as mint, candy, fruit or chocolate; and the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco use,” said Dr. Maria Corazon Avancena, an officer of the Philippine Academy of Pediatric Pulmonologist.

The 69-year-old PHA-Philippine College of Cardiology upholds it duty to elevate the standards of local Cardiology training and care all over the country. It is also engaged in lay education, research and in forming alliances with policy-making bodies.

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PHA says ‘no’ to vaping