Bangladesh plans to ban e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns

The global market for e-cigarettes was worth $15.7 billion in 2018, according to data from Euromonitor International. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2019

Bangladesh plans to ban e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns

  • A ban on e-cigarettes and vaporizers will be incorporated in the tobacco control policy 2019, now being drawn up by the government
  • The global market for e-cigarettes was worth $15.7 billion in 2018

DHAKA: Bangladesh plans to prohibit the sale and use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, a health official said on Sunday, as countries around the world move to ban devices that have been linked to health risks and teen addiction.
“We are actively working to impose a ban on the production, import and sale of e-cigarettes and all vaping tobaccos to prevent health risks,” Shaikh Yusuf Harun, Secretary at the health education and family welfare division of the Ministry of Health and Family welfare, told Reuters.
The health ministry had taken into consideration the recent spate of deaths and illnesses linked to e-cigarette use in the United States, he said.
A ban on e-cigarettes and vaporizers will be incorporated in the tobacco control policy 2019, now being drawn up by the government, he added. It will then be submitted to parliament for approval.
E-cigarettes are available everywhere in Bangladesh from small street corner shops to e-commerce sites.
India, which has the second-largest population of adult smokers in the world, banned the sale of e-cigarettes in October as it warned of a vaping “epidemic” among young people.
Public health officials in the United States recommended against using e-cigarettes after 12 deaths and 805 cases of illnesses linked to e-cigarette use were reported.
The global market for e-cigarettes was worth $15.7 billion in 2018, according to data from Euromonitor International, and is projected to more than double to $40 billion in 2023.


Philippines begins termination of US deal

Earlier, Duterte said he would give the US a month to restore Dela Rosa’s visa. (AP)
Updated 25 January 2020

Philippines begins termination of US deal

  • The move comes after Washington’s refusal to issue a visa to ally of President Duterte

MANILA: The Philippines has started the process of terminating the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which allows the deployment of US forces to the country to conduct military exercises, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced on Friday.
The move comes one day after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to do away with the agreement if the US did not reinstate the visa of his political ally and former police chief, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa.
Although in a speech on Thursday night the president said he would give the US one month to restore Dela Rosa’s visa before terminating the VFA, Panelo told reporters the process had already begun.
“The President feels that we cannot sit down and watch idly,” he said, adding he had relayed the matter to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin.
Locsin, in a Twitter post on Friday, confirmed he had called Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana “to start the process of terminating the VFA.”
Lorenzana, in a statement on Friday evening, said that he would discuss with the president “the various scenarios concerning the possible termination of the VFA, and what future actions may be undertaken by the Department of National Defense (DND) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regarding this matter.”
The defense chief said he could understand why the president was angered by the cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa, over alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with the government’s anti-drug war.
“It is a direct affront to (the president) being the architect of the drug war upon his assumption of office,” the defense chief said.
He noted that Duterte ordered Dela Rosa when he was installed as police chief in 2016 to launch the drug war, and promised to back him. “He is just being true to his promise,” Lorenzana stressed.
Dela Rosa himself said details surrounding the revocation of his US visa remain unclear to him. He added that it “might be related” to the anti-drug war.
The Philippines Department of Justice said it was studying the “proper procedure to terminate the VFA.”
Responses from Philippine lawmakers have been mixed.
“In the absence of a Philippines Supreme Court ruling on the president’s power to unilaterally break a treaty or bilateral agreement like the VFA, without the consent of a 2/3 supermajority vote of the members of the senate, the president can do that without the senate’s approval or consent,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the VFA termination would work in favor of China, and so did not come as a surprise.
According to Lorenzana: “The termination of the VFA may be unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, and it is well within the right of the government to do so if it determines that the agreement no longer redounds to our national interest.
“Such a termination does not need the approval of the Philippine Congress. All that is required is that a notice of termination be served to the US government. The termination shall take effect 180 days after the date of the notice,” the defense chief stressed.