Very good news that the Government has agreed to further regulate e-cigarettes. The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly T.D. and the Minister for Public Health, Frank Feighan T.D., today received Government approval to introduce additional restrictions on the sale and advertising of nicotine inhaling products such as e-cigarettes. The proposals will be incorporated into the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill which is currently being drafted.
In 2019 the Dental Health Foundation supported and contributed to the Joint Position Statement from the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Heart Foundation ‘E-cigarettes and Heated Tobacco Products: An evidence review by the Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society’. This Position Statement clearly outlined that as a result of clever marketing, e-cigarette use was increasing among young people and that it may act as a gateway to smoking.
According to recent research from the Irish Tobacco Free Research Institute the number of young people vaping is on the increase, from 23% in 2014 to 39% in 2019, and they are starting to vape at around 14 or 15 years of age. The Director of the Institute, Professor Luke Clancy, and the Head of Addiction Services at Saint John of God, Professor Colin O’Gara have highlighted teenage curiosity and availability of vapes as reasons for this. Other reasons include the colourful packaging, colour of vapes, the flavour of the vapes and that social media and influencers may have a role in making vaping more attractive to teenagers. Interestingly, nearly 70% of the teenagers that participated in a recent survey carried out by the Institute, said they had never used tobacco products before trying e-cigarettes.
Under the new proposals, the sale of e-cigarettes will not be allowed in self-service vending machines or at places or events for children. Additionally, advertisements for e-cigarettes will be banned on public transport, in cinemas or near schools.
The Bill is expected to be finalised and published by end 2022. 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.
The Dental Health Foundation supports this Bill in helping to tackle this important public health issue.