The Irish Heart Foundation has endorsed measures that would ban flavoured e-cigarettes and marketing techniques aimed at encouraging young people to take up vaping.
The charity said it has lobbied extensively to have four sweeping recommendations included in a pre-legislative scrutiny report for the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill that was published this weekend.
One of the key recommendations in the Oireachtas Health Committee’s report is a prohibition on the flavouring of all vapes, except tobacco.
“Vape manufacturers clearly use flavours – and research has identified thousands of them – that they know will attract minors,” said Mark Murphy, advocacy officer with the Irish Heart Foundation.
He added that many vaping products are marketed in such a way as to appeal to young people.
“Many products are sold in bright, attractive packaging with cartoon characters designed to entice young people. In research we carried out, third and fourth-year students were shown different e-cigarette products.
“When asked for their thoughts, none believed the claim by e-cigarette companies that their design was for adults only and believed, instead, that they were highly likely to appeal to children more than adults.”
The Oireachtas report recommends a restriction on brightly coloured packaging and the introduction of plain packaging.
It also calls for measures to prohibit e-cigarette advertising and promotion across all social media, online and on billboards.
In addition, the committee recommends that Health Minister Stephen Donnelly conduct a review and assemble research on international studies that have focused on increasing the age of tobacco and nicotine-inhaling product purchase from 18 years of age to 21.
“We recognise that some long-term adult smokers use e-cigarettes to quit or reduce smoking. However, the Irish Heart Foundation is concerned over the rise of youth vaping,” said Mr Murphy.
“We can point to evidence showing that e-cigarettes are not harm free – they damage health, inflict short-term harm and act as a gateway to cigarette tobacco smoking.
Allison Bray – Independent.ie – 2022-07-17.