New e-cig restrictions don’t go far enough — Irish Heart Foundation

New government measures to restrict the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes do not go far enough to protect young people from addiction to nicotine, the Irish Heart Foundation has said.

The Foundation was responding to the announcement today (November 22) by the Department of Health that under new legislation, e-cigarettes will no longer be available from self-service vending machines and adverts for them will be prohibited on public transport, in cinemas and near schools.

Irish Heart Foundation Director of Advocacy, Chris Macey said new government measures to restrict the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes do not go far enough to protect young people from addiction to nicotine. File pic.

Irish Heart Foundation Director of Advocacy, Chris Macey, said a raft of new measures – including a ban on e-cigarette flavours targeting children and higher taxes on vaping products – were also required.

“Latest statistics show that 39% of 15 to 16-year-olds have used e-cigarettes and 15.5% are regular users,” said Mr Macey.

“However, 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% during the last year.”

Research by the Health Research Board showed that teenagers who vape were three-to-five times more likely to take up smoking.

“For the first time in a generation tobacco use among teenagers is increasing in Ireland,” said Mr Macey.

“The hard-won gains of the last generation when the smoking rate fell from 41% to 13% are now at serious risk because of the Government’s failure to take a stronger line against youth use of e-cigarettes.

“The newly announced advertising restrictions are welcome in addition to the long-awaited ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s.

“But 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.

“We need 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.”

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