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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) joins the rest of the global community in celebrating World No Tobacco Day with the theme “Commit to Quit”.

Each year, on this date, we commemorate the lives of eight (8) million people who have died  due to diseases related to tobacco use and celebrate the people who dedicated their lives to tobacco control advocacy efforts that protect the current and future generations from the harmful effects of tobacco. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has triggered millions of smokers globally to want to quit smoking as evidences started to unfold that they were more likely to develop severe COVID-19 compared to non-smokers. This year’s theme aims to solicit the commitment of current tobacco users to quit smoking now and claim their right to health. Reaffirming its commitment to advance public health at all times, the FDA is one with the global community of public health advocates in this fight to become a tobacco-free generation by actively taking part in this global campaign.

Moreover, the FDA lauds the issuance of the Revenue Regulations No. 7-2021 by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), implementing the provisions of Republic Act (RA) Nos. 11346 and 11467 relative to excise tax on alcohol products, tobacco products, heated tobacco products (HTPs) and vapor products. Pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2020-0055 issued on December 1, 2020 by the Department of Health, the FDA shall coordinate with the BIR to complement its taxation process for these products. This has prompted the FDA to issue FDA Circular No. 2021-010 providing interim guidelines on the issuance of Certifications for vapor products and HTPs during the eighteen (18)-month transitory period set forth in RA 11467.

The Industry, therefore, is urged to observe faithful compliance with the said excise taxation as this collaboration between the BIR and FDA is part of the concerted efforts to recalibrate the taxation of vapor products and HTPs in order to not only raise additional revenue to properly implement the Universal Health Care program but also to curb the consumption of these products, especially by the youth, and exposure to tobacco smoke in all forms of smoking.

A copy of the FDA Circular No. 2021-010 is now posted on the FDA website for concerned stakeholders’ guidance and quick reference.