Call to speed up laws banning e-cig sales to kids welcome

By June Shannon Policy News   |   24th Jul 2019

The Irish Heart Foundation echoes call to fast track laws banning sale of e-cigarettes to children

The Irish Heart Foundation has welcomed the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) Policy Group on Tobacco’s call on the Government to fast-track legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes to children.

The call was made in the group’s pre-budget submission issued earlier this week, in which the RCPI said it was time to examine the role of e-cigarettes in tobacco cessation and their health effects, particularly in young people.

The group is also calling for a minimum increase of €1 on a pack of 20 cigarettes in this year’s budget and the removal of the price difference between roll your own tobacco products and cigarettes.

The pre-budget submission also called for increased investment in smoking cessation programmes and funding of approximately €500,000 to be ring-fenced over the next five years (indexed to the annual tax income on tobacco products) to finance new tobacco control measures to support the move towards the goal of a tobacco free Ireland.

" Exposing young people to nicotine through the use of electronic cigarettes is a significant health concern,"

Dr Des Cox, Chair of the Policy Group on Tobacco , RCPI

Dr Des Cox, Chair of the Policy Group on Tobacco at RCPI said, “Over the past few years, e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular among young people in many countries. Urgent action needs to be taken in order to prevent this phenomenon transposing to Ireland.

“Although e-cigarettes are considered to be less harmful than tobacco smoking, exposing young people to nicotine through the use of electronic cigarettes is a significant health concern. Nicotine is highly addictive and is particularly harmful to the developing brain and other organs of the body.

“We are calling for research funding to examine the role of e-cigarettes in tobacco cessation and to examine their health effects, particularly in young people. We are also calling for the proposed legislative measures on prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s to be fast-tracked through government as a matter of urgency,” Dr Cox said.

Tobacco remains the world’s leading cause of preventable death. 1 in 2 smokers will die of a preventable disease. In 2013, 5,590 deaths in Ireland were caused by smoking and second-hand exposure and the total cost to the health service is over €460 million.

Smoking is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

"The government must step up and prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to people under 18 and ban all forms of marketing of e-cigarettes,"

Mr Mark Murphy, Advocacy Officer , Irish Heart Foundation

Commenting Mark Murphy, Advocacy Officer with the Irish Heart Foundation said,“Legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s is urgently required and long overdue so we would strongly echo the call made by the RCPI for the Government to fast-track these measures in order to protect children. Ireland has made fantastic strides in reducing the level of smoking amongst adolescents over the past two decades and the risk with e-cigarettes is that a whole new generation will become addicted to nicotine.

“Although e-cigarettes are deemed to be less harmful than cigarettes, they are not harm-free, and we simply do not know what the long-health implications are. In order to protect children and teenagers, the government must step up and prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to people under 18 and ban all forms of marketing of e-cigarettes” Mr Murphy added.

In May this year the Irish Heart Foundation joined forces with the Irish Cancer Society to call on Government to do more to help people quit smoking.

Stopping smoking is the single most important step you can take to live longer, and it greatly reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.

For more information and support please see our quit smoking page.

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