Makati City–The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), orders the suspension of the sale, manufacturing, import, and distribution of Flava Corporation’s vape products on March 15.

Citing Executive Order No. 913 and Department Order No. 07, Series of 2006, the FTEB’s Adjudication Division issued a Preliminary Order halting the trade of Flava Corporation’s vape products. The order aims to “preserve the integrity of the subject products and to prevent the continuance of the acts complained of.”

These acts refer to Flava Corporation’s alleged violations of Republic Act No. 11900 or the Vape Law, particularly product communication restrictions, including the use of flavor descriptors and celebrities.

The suspension aligns with DTI Secretary Fred Pascual’s directive to remove non-conforming products from the market to protect consumers. He said, “The DTI will not shirk from its responsibility of enforcing trade, industry, and consumer protection laws to help legitimate businesses and promote consumer protection.”

“This Order serves as a strong warning to manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers to not engage in illegal acts of trading illicit vapes and other violative products,” Secretary Pascual added.

The DTI highlighted that Section 12 of the Vape Law prohibits the sale of vape products with flavor descriptors targeting minors. These include references to fruits, candy brands, desserts, or cartoon characters. Additionally, the same section bans the use of celebrities in endorsing or advertising vape products.

Preceding the Preliminary Order, the FTEB’s Prosecution Unit filed a Formal Charge against Flava and co-respondent Lilacs Vape Shop, alleging unlawful use of celebrities in social media posts and during the December 2023 launch of their ROMIO 9500 product. Additionally, the new product line was found to use flavor descriptors that violate the law, such as taro ice cream, melon lychee, watermelon, iced chocolate, gummy bears, and bubblegum.

Secretary Pascual responded to these violations by highlighting the Department’s intensified monitoring and enforcement efforts, both physically and online. This is to ensure that the sale and illegal trade of vape products, particularly those targeting minors, are prevented.

On March 5, the House Committee on Ways and Means reported the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) discovery in October 2023 of billions of pesos worth of Flava vape products stored in a Valenzuela warehouse. The products appeared to be illegally imported and without proper tax payment.

The congressional committee subsequently called on relevant agencies, including the DTI, to strengthen their regulatory and enforcement operations against other possible violations by Flava.

Law enforcement agencies have conducted multiple raids against illicit vapes in the past two weeks. In a recent major bust, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) apprehended two suspects allegedly involved in selling smuggled vapes in San Pablo City, Laguna, on March 11. Authorities confiscated said illegal items, reportedly worth PHP 65 million.

In a separate operation, the BOC conducted a two-day raid on warehouses in Malabon and Parañaque from February 29 to March 1. The raid resulted in the confiscation of around PHP 4.6 billion worth of vape products suspected to be smuggled from China.

In line with state policies to safeguard public health, RA No. 11900 regulates the importation, assembly, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, promotion and sponsorship of vape products, their devices, and novel tobacco products. This regulation aims to ensure a healthy environment, prevent sales of these products to minors, and curb illicit trade.

Under the Vape Law and its implementing rules, retailers and manufacturers are obligated to take precautions and ensure compliance with relevant regulations.

RA 11900 vests the regulatory jurisdiction over vapes and other novel tobacco products in the DTI and complementary implementing roles to the Department of Health (DOH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and Local Government Units (LGUs).

The DTI urges consumers to report violators by calling the Consumer Care Hotline at DTI (1-384) or by emailing♦