There has been a big buzz in the Philippine e-cigarette industry.
Several sectors are waiting for what comes next after both houses of the Philippines legislature ratified the harmonized version of the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act at the end of January. The vape bill consolidates Senate Bill No. 2239 or the “Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act” and House Bill No. 9007 or the “Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act.”
Update: The Act has lapsed into law, known as Republic Act 11900. There are a few interesting developments as well, which you will find below.
Now a law, the Philippines joined 67 countries worldwide that have regulatory frameworks on vaping. The Vaping Bill aims to regulate the use, manufacture, importation, sale, distribution, and promotion of vaping and heated-tobacco products (HTPs).
Under RA 11900, the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Health (DOH) will have exclusive jurisdictions and regulate vapor products with health claims.
The World Health Organization estimates that 17 million Filipinos continue to smoke cigarettes. Of this count, more than 100,000 Filipinos die every year from smoking-related diseases. Despite all anti-smoking efforts and interventions, only 4 percent will successfully quit every year.
It’s estimated that 4% of Filipinos use e-cigarettes regularly or occasionally as an alternative to tobacco use. As such, the bill is also expected to serve as a pragmatic middle ground for the 96 percent expected to continue to smoke in 2022.
The Philippine e-Cigarette Market
According to a report from 6Wresearch, the country’s E-cigarette Market size is anticipated to register potential growth from 2020 to 2026.
When set against a growing middle-income class and a large young population, the Philippines’ economic dynamism presents a promising consumer demand supported by improving incomes and stable remittances. Though still dominated by the agricultural sector, the economy offers opportunities as a newly-industrialized country, not just for Filipinos but also for foreign businesses.
Here are some requirements needed on how to legally import and sell HTPs (heated tobacco products) in the Philippines:
License to Operate (LTO) from the FDA – applies to all establishments engaged in manufacturing, distribution, importation, exportation, retail sale, and vapor products, including online sale or distribution. Product Batch Notification with the FDA – After the issuance of an FDA Electronic Registration Number (FERN), a prerequisite of pre-assessment of submission 2 The law requires registration of all e-cigarettes before sale or distribution under the FDA Electronic Registration Number (FERN) process and batch declaration process (for e-cigarette refills and cartridges).
- Vape products and HTPs are now under the jurisdiction of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Health (DOH). This means there is no need to secure a License to Operate and a Product Batch Declaration Certificate from the FDA following the provisions of Republic Act 11900.
- Electronic Filing Payment System (eFPS) Registration – filed with the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); for electronically filing tax returns, including attachments, if any, and paying taxes (especially excise tax) due thereon, specifically through the internet.
- Various Permits with BIR, like a Permit to Operate with BIR and Import Commodity Clearance from the National Tobacco Administration (NTA)
- Import Accreditation with the Philippine Bureau of Customs
Groups like the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), an umbrella group of 168 organizations and companies from various Philippine industries, have endorsed the Vape Bill. In a statement, the FPI expressed confidence that, on top of the health objectives, opening up the economy to a well-regulated vaping and HTP industry will support the government’s economic and revenue initiatives.
Help for Heated Tobacco Product Business Investors is Available
Triple i Consulting Inc. welcomes the move to regulate better alternatives to cigarettes and products that may be less harmful than traditional tobacco products.
Our consulting team can help companies get through importing Vape and Heated Tobacco Products to the Philippines. We’ll assist with the procedures and preparation of documentary requirements to import HTPs so you can focus on your business.