Vape groups urged Lazada to follow Shopee’s lead and immediately take down all illicit vape products displayed and sold on its online platform.
Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) President Joey Dulay said that Lazada, as one of the most popular online marketplaces in the country, has a responsibility to their consumers to safeguard their welfare by ensuring that they are protected from the dangers brought on by unregistered, substandard products.
“The DTI has made it irrevocably clear that it is incumbent on Lazada to comply with the mandate of the Vape Law, it’s implementing rules and regulations, and Joint Administrative Order No. 22-11. Shopee, a platform of similar scale and widespread popularity, has already taken down over a million unregistered vape listings on its site. The issue should merit similar urgency from Lazada,” Dulay said.
The Nicotine Consumers Union of the Philippines (NCUP), who wrote separate letters to Shopee and Lazada in January of this year, commended Shopee’s swift and decisive action against illicit vape products and strongly encouraged Lazada to follow its rival’s lead.
“These platforms wield enormous power over the buying public. If they see it on the site, then they assume it’s safe for use. Lazada plays such a crucial role in deterring the consumption of these illicit products. There are now laws in place to regulate vaporized nicotine products, but these cannot be properly implemented if the platforms themselves fail to comply,” said NCUP President Anton Israel in his letter.
This comes after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Consumer Protection Group (CPG) met with various e-commerce platform representatives last March 1 to address the proliferation of prohibited vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products being advertised and sold online despite ongoing monitoring and enforcement efforts.
Lazada officials were present during the dialogue, along with officials from Shopee, Facebook/Meta, Grab Express, and Carousell, among others.
A day after the DTI dialogue, Shopee reported the removal of more than 1 million prohibited vape listings from its platform. It also promised to strengthen its monitoring of illicit vape products and pledged its continued cooperation with the trade agency.
RA 11900 or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act became law on July 25, 2002. The law covers vapor products, refills, vapor product devices, heated tobacco products, HTP consumables and devices, and novel tobacco products.
With the effectivity of the IRR on December 28, 2022, all prohibited items under RA 11900 should no longer be found in the retail market, whether online or offline.
For product registration, only BPS-registered and certified vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, their devices, and novel tobacco products with the applicable graphic and textual health warnings shall be sold to the general public by June 2024.
JAO 22-01 also knowns as the Guidelines for Online Businesses Reiterating the Laws and Regulations Applicable to Online Businesses and Consumers makes e-commerce platforms liable in the same manner as individual sellers for the sale of fake products.
PECIA is the largest e-cigarette trade industry organization in the Philippines, with more than 200 store owners, suppliers, and manufacturers as members and 8,000 allied vapers, representing over 1 Million consumers of smoke-free products in the Philippines.
NCUP is a nonprofit national advocacy organization that believes that the rights and interests of millions of Filipino smokers and vapers alike need to be protected and safeguarded from substandard, unregulated, and non-registered tobacco/nicotine products and alternative nicotine products.
Source: Manila Bulletin