Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual has directed stringent monitoring of online merchants selling vape products, aiming to safeguard the youth from potential risks.
In a statement released on Monday, Pascual instructed the DTI-Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) to diligently conduct daily monitoring of major online platforms, social media sites, and various company websites to identify any potential violations of Republic Act No. 11900, commonly referred to as the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-nicotine Products Regulation Act, along with its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) or DTI Administrative Order (DAO) 22-16, Series of 2022.
“ We ensure the public that we, at DTI, will continue pursuing initiatives that will ensure the safety of our consumers, especially the youth sector. We need to balance public safety and business interests,” said Pascual.
DTI-Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Undersecretary Ruth Castelo acknowledged the challenges in monitoring and enforcing the vape law within the vast online marketplaces. However, she highlighted the progress made through enforcement and advocacy initiatives, with the cooperation of marketplaces, e-commerce platforms, consumers, and consumer organizations in protecting the public, particularly minors.
Consumers actively report possible violators, which are then validated by the enforcement unit.
According to FTEB’s online monitoring unit (OMU), out of 37,808 online vape sellers monitored, only 274 were found to be compliant, while 1,649 non-compliant online vape sellers with valid addresses are currently being further validated by DTI’s enforcement teams
Additionally, there are 35,885 non-compliant online sellers with incomplete or no declared addresses.
The DTI has issued a total of 201 show cause orders as of July 18, which are currently under evaluation by FTEB’s Prosecution Unit.