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NCRPO nabs 10 vape users



MANILA -- A total of 10 users of vapes and e-cigarettes were arrested in Metro Manila public places as part of the crackdown ordered by Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, the National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) said on Sunday.

NCRPO chief, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, said the 10 violators were apprehended in Sta. Cruz and Malate, Manila and Makati City through the conduct of police mobilized patrol.

"As per the pronouncement of our Honorable President and per directive from the National headquarters, we have placed the Ban on importation and use of vapes among our top priorities," Sinas said.

"In the enforcement thereof, we are bound to ensure that all violators will be arrested and properly recorded in the blotter book," Sinas explained.

At the same time, Sinas assured that all confiscated or seized items will be accounted and disposed of properly.

Meanwhile, Sinas also declared that thorough coordination with Local Government Units (LGUs) and other concerned agencies like the mall and vape store owners is underway to ensure the implementation of said directives.

"We will be implementing No Vape Zone in our camp and I already directed all NCRPO personnel to refrain from violating the provisions of this issuance," Sinas asserted as he made certain and set down explicitly that NCRPO will be the first ones to abide by the policy among its ranks.

In compliance with the President's directive, Sinas said the NCRPO has set off simultaneous operations within the areas of responsibility of its five districts which led to the confiscation of vapes and even closure of vaping stores.

Out of 108 vape stores visited by the NCRPO operatives, 72 have been closed and barred from its operations.

“We are still continuing the consolidation of our reports about the ban on importation and use of e-cigarettes through the NCRPO Regional Operations Division,” Sinas said.

“Being on top of my priorities, never will I ever excuse anyone in the implementation of this ban,” he added.

Last Friday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he is awaiting an executive order (EO) from Malacañang before local government units implement a crackdown against the prohibition on the use and importation of e-cigarettes in the country.

On Thursday, Gamboa clarified that those who will be arrested in the nationwide crackdown on using electronic cigarettes, popularly known as vapes, in public places will not be detained or punished.

He said a vape user, who will be arrested will be brought to a police station for blotter purposes and will be released afterward.

He said it is due to the pending issuance of another executive order indicating the punishment for those who will be caught using vapes in public places.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered law enforcers to arrest individuals who are vaping in public.

Duterte issued the directive following the first reported case of an illness related to vaping in the country.

On November 15, the DOH confirmed that a 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas who used e-cigarettes for six months suffered from E-cigarette or Vape-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI).

The girl, who complained of “sudden-onset severe shortness of breath,” met the case criteria of EVALI upon evaluation, based on the guidelines of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (PNA)

Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA