Philippines to require age and ID verification for online sales of nicotine products

Philippines to require age and ID verification for online sales of nicotine products
The Philippines will require age and identity verification for online purchases of vapor nicotine and non-nicotine products.

The proposed implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Philippine regulations on vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products will require age and identity verification for customers who order such products online.

According to a draft of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) released on the website of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the Philippines, e-commerce platforms, online markets, and electronic retailers must implement an "access restriction mechanism" for products approved by the DTI.

The draft law also requires that online sellers can only ship directly to buyers or authorized representatives who are at least 18 years old and verified through government-issued identification.

According to the draft, "If the authorized representative has not reached the legal age, the seller can re-deliver the product at the buyer's expense. For electronic commerce platforms, e-commerce platforms, and online retailers, the buyer cannot use the excuse of not knowing their true age or not knowing the buyer's real age as a defense. The buyer had no reason to believe or know that the product was intended for consumption by those under the age of 18, and even if the buyer and the representative provide proof of age, this does not constitute a defense.

These rules are aimed at ensuring that minors cannot access vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine products, their delivery devices, and new tobacco products.

The proposed IRR also mandates online sellers to register their company names with the DTI, SEC, or Cooperative Development Bureau. Additionally, the draft prohibits the sale of electronic cigarette products through phone or SMS sales. The draft specifies that "sellers should recommend buyers to do proper age verification in-store or in online stores.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced that a virtual public consultation will be held on October 27 and October 28 regarding the draft proposal.

This draft will be implemented as an unnumbered joint administrative order to be released by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Health (DoH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

According to the proposed legislation, the Department of Health (DoH) has the authority to enforce Republic Act No. 10643 or the "Graphic Health Warning Law," while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the registration of tobacco products and has the power to regulate products that make claims of therapeutic or medicinal benefits or risk reduction, with the exception of deceitful, unfair, and unreasonable sales practices.

The bill authorizes BIR to register industry participants for tax purposes, while DTI oversees compliance with product sales rules.

Various groups oppose the passing of the law, claiming that e-cigarette products pose a health risk to young people. The DTI believes that the risk can be reduced through product testing.

According to the Philippine Manufacturers Association, this law will protect consumers from the harm caused by counterfeit products.


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