Heated tobacco products not covered by new DoH order

HEATED tobacco products (HTPs) are not covered by the newly issued Administrative Order (AO) No. *2019-0007 of the Department of Health (DoH) regulating the use and sale of electronic cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said HTPs are not among those targeted by the AO of the DoH, adding it only covers Electronic Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS).

It said that HTPs are already covered by the Executive Order (EO) No. 26 issued by President Duterte in 2017, which practically placed the entire country under a stricter no smoking regime.

The HTPs are treated like conventional cigarettes.

This, however, remains a gray area since EO 26 is silent on the regulation of e-cigarettes under the heated tobacco or HTP sub-category.

Giant tobacco makers have e-cigarettes brands using heated tobacco or HTPs. Winston maker has Ploom Tech while Marlboro owner PMI has the more popular IQOS.

Some of these e-cigarette brands, while not yet officially launched, are already sold in some outlets in the country and will not be subject to DoH regulation.

While the DoH AO differentiated vapor over HTP e-cigarettes, the new sin tax law passed by Congress makes no distinction by slapping the two e-cigarettes sub-categories with a uniform tax of P10 beginning January 2020.

Currently, e-cigarettes -- vapor or heated tobacco -- should be taxed based on the legal memorandum of Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) similar to conventional cigarettes which are now taxed at P35 per pack.

But by the start of next year, the e-cigs tax will go down to P10, which would translate to lower revenues for government.