New laws, which will ban the sale of vaping products to anyone under the age of 18, do not go far enough, the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has insisted.
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has received government approval to publish the Public Health (Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill and bring it forward for enactment. Among other things, this Bill will:
-Prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products to anyone under 18 years
-Prohibit the sale of tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products at events for children
-Prohibit the advertising of nicotine inhaling products around schools and on public transport.
The legislation is expected to be enacted in July.
“Our research tells us that vaping among adolescents increases the likelihood that they will later smoke. Our bill is designed to intervene at each phase of the process through which these products are sold,” explained Minister Donnelly.
However, responding to the news, the IHF said that it does not go far enough. It called for a complete ban on all e-cigarette flavours and disposable vapes.
“Irish research shows that teenagers who use e-cigarettes are up to five times more likely to start smoking compared to those who don’t. We need a full ban on all e-cigarettes flavours, except tobacco, and a complete prohibition of all forms of advertising, including online influencers promoting vaping products,” commented Chris Macey, the IHF’s director of advocacy and patient support.
He also called for a ban on the sale of disposable vapes, the introduction of plain packaging for vaping and an increase in the legal age of all tobacco and e-cigarette products from 18 to 21.
“Ireland can reclaim its global leadership role in tobacco and nicotine policy by undertaking a dual strategy of implementing stronger regulatory policies on e-cigarettes to protect young people, and commencing a broad consultation on New Zealand-style tobacco endgame measures.
“It is beyond time that we regain our ambition for bold, innovative actions. If we don’t, we risk losing an entirely new generation of young people to the addictive nature of nicotine and the extremely harmful nature of smoking,” Mr Macey said.
He pointed out that “for the first time in a generation”, teenage smoking rates are increasing.
“This is a rise almost certainly fuelled by the gateway effect of vaping. Ireland is behind its European neighbours in our efforts to protect children from vaping and we are one of the last countries in the EU to introduce a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s,” he added.