More than 2,000 vape stores around Metro Manila were closed down since the ban on vapes, or e-cigarettes, and related products was ordered, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said on Friday.
According to acting NCRPO regional director PBrig. Gen. Debold Sinas, 168 violators from 11,014 operations conducted from November 2019 to January 2020 were also apprehended.
“The operations will continue. We will continue to monitor vape stores,” Sinas said in a press briefing.
Camp Crame previously said arrests made on vape sellers and users leaned on Republic Act 8749, or the Clean Air Act, and Republic Act 9211, or the Tobacco Regulation Act.
Executive Order (EO) 26, or the Malacañang circular banning smoking in public places, was also used as the basis for the police to apprehend violators.
President Rodrigo Duterte last November ordered a ban on the use and importation of vape and related products after the Department of Health confirmed the country’s first case of electronic cigarette-or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI), following the case of a 16-year-old girl from the Visayas whose lungs reportedly collapsed after using vape for six months.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa, who was then the officer-in-charge, instructed all police units nationwide to enforce the ban on the use of vapes, ensure that all violators will be arrested and properly recorded in the police blotters, and for all confiscated items accounted for and disposed of properly.
He also ordered for all PNP camps offices to be “no vape zones.”