Gov must do more to protect young people from nicotine addiction

By June Shannon Policy News   |   22nd Nov 2022

The Irish Heart Foundation’s response to Government  announcement of additional restrictions on sale and advertising of e-cigarettes  

The Government needs to “do much more to protect young people from addiction to nicotine,” the Irish Heart Foundation has said.

Responding to the announcement today (Tuesday 22 November 2022) that the Government has agreed to further legislation on e-cigarettes, Irish Heart Foundation Director of Advocacy, Chris Macey said, the Government needed to do more.

“The latest statistics show that 39 per cent of 15-16 year-olds have used e-cigarettes and 15.5 per cent are regular users. But the numbers may be much higher following a surge in the use of disposable vapes, particularly among teenagers and young adults. In the UK the number of vapers using disposable e-cigarettes increased from less than 1 to 56 per cent during the last year.

“Health Research Board (HRB) research shows that teenagers who vape are 3-5 times more likely to take up smoking and for the first time in a generation tobacco use among teenagers is increasing in Ireland. The hard won gains of the last generation when the smoking rate fell from 41 to 13 per cent are now at serious risk because of the Government’s failure to take a stronger line against youth use of e-cigarettes.”

“ Health Research Board (HRB) research shows that teenagers who vape are 3-5 times more likely to take up smoking,"

Chris Macey, Director of Advocacy, The Irish Heart Foundation

While he welcomed the new restrictions around the advertising of e-cigarettes announced today as well as the long-awaited ban on their sale to under 18 year-olds, Mr Macey added that more needed to be done including a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes and disposable vapes.

“We need a raft of additional measures, including a ban on e-cigarette flavours like cookies and cream, gummy bear and bubblegum which are clearly directed at children and teenagers, the introduction of plain packaging of e-cigarettes,  a ban on disposable vapes, additional taxes to make e-cigarettes less affordable to children and regulations ensuring that no promotion or advertising of e-cigarettes in any form is permitted. We are also calling for the legal age of sale of tobacco to be increased to 21 and that similar regulations are put in place for e-cigarettes to ensure such a law doesn’t push more young people towards vaping,” he said.

Under the new proposals to introduce additional restrictions on the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes announced today by the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly T.D. and the Minister for Public Health, Frank Feighan T.D., the sale of e-cigarettes (and related nicotine-inhaling products) will be prohibited from self-service vending machines, from temporary or mobile premises and at places or events for children. In addition, advertisements for e-cigarettes will be prohibited on public transport, in cinemas and near schools.

The proposals will be incorporated into the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill which is currently being drafted. The Bill is expected to be finalised and published by year-end. The legislation will be designed to regulate any product that can be used for the consumption of nicotine-containing vapour or any component of that product.

" We are also calling for the legal age of sale of tobacco to be increased to 21 and that similar regulations are put in place for e-cigarettes,"

Chris Macey. Director of Advocacy , The Irish Heart Foundation

The Bill already contains measures to ban the sale of nicotine-inhaling products to those under the age of 18 and to introduce a licensing system for the retail sale of tobacco products and nicotine-inhaling products.

Other measures contained in the Bill include:

The General Scheme of the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill is available here.

 

 

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