World – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday he was ordering a ban on the use and importation of electronic cigarettes in the country.
Duterte also ordered the arrest of anyone vaping in public, after the Department of Health said it was investigating what could become the country’s first confirmed case of lung injury from the use of e-cigarettes.
"I will ban the use and importation [of e-cigarettes] because it is toxic and the government has the power to issue measures to protect public health and public interest," he told a late-night press conference.
"I am now ordering law enforcement agencies to arrest anybody vaping in public, which is like smoking," he added. "You cannot do it inside the room. That’s full of shit. You contaminate people."
Last week, the Department of Health said a 16-year-old girl from the central region of Visayas was possibly the first case of lung injury from the use of electronic cigarettes.
The teenager was admitted in hospital on October 21 for "sudden onset of severe shortness of breath," the department said.
She was initially thought to have a lung infection, but upon further evaluation, her case met the criteria for "electronic cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury" based on the guidelines by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Further verification was required in order to confirm the diagnosis, the department said.
The teenager was found to have used electronic cigarettes daily for four months. After that time, she also smoked traditional cigarettes. She has been discharged and has since stopped smoking.