“[It is] disappointing to see all four major parties target vaping in their manifestos. Please engage with the users before indulging in prohibitionist regulations. We are always ready to talk,” said NNA Ireland’s Damian Sweeny in response to parties compete with each other to promote regressive nonsense.
According to European nicotine consumer supergroup ETHRA, “A General Election is being held in Ireland on February 8th and 5 per cent of the electorate is being ignored by the main political parties. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Irish Green Party all promote policies to further marginalise the hundreds of thousands of current vapers in Ireland.”
NNA Ireland says it has looked as the four main political parties issued their manifestos: “All four mention e-cigarettes and vaping in their policies. From a ban on flavoured products to a vague intention to pass regulation for e-cigs, none offer any justification for their positions and none make any mention of why they feel the need to have a policy. This is deeply disappointing and disturbing.”
The organisation points out that “smoking is the main cause of avoidable illness in this country. Despite one of the harshest tobacco control environments in the world the rate of daily smoking remains persistently high. Each year 6,000 people die from smoking related illnesses in Ireland, according to HSE figures.” [link]
“Since the advent of vaping this rate had started to drop, it’s now down to 17% from 23% in 2015 and smoking among under 18 is at its lowest historical rate. While it would be foolish to claim this is entirely driven by the rise in vaping, it remains a fact that vaping has not reduced rates of quitting and in fact may have contributed to its acceleration.”
“The current regulation, implemented by Simon Harris in 2016 is working well, smokers have the option of an alternative to combustible cigarettes and are seizing this opportunity in increasing numbers. Any regulation that would undermine this would be counterproductive. E-cigs are proven to be one of the most effective aids to stopping smoking."
“All these policies are designed to make vaping less accessible to vapers and to smokers” - ETHRA
ETHRA comments: “Fianna Fail has suggested banning what they describe as ‘child focussed flavours’ by which they mean all flavours. Most adult vapers consume dessert, fruit and candy flavours to distance themselves from the taste of tobacco so, under this proposal, will be deprived of a significant factor in ensuring they stay away from smoking. The party has also stated they intend to remove vaping entirely as part of their smoke free Ireland targets.”
“The Green Party boasts about how it intends to introduce ‘comprehensive e-cigarette legislation covering advertising and flavouring’, while Fine Gael’s manifesto proposes a ‘licensing system for the retail sale of nicotine-inhaling products’ and a ‘ban on advertising on public transport and in cinemas’ while also making it known that they too wish to discourage vaping through targeted taxation.”
This comes at the same time as Dr Muiris Houston slams Irish coverage of vaping and the World Health Organisation’s recent announcement as being “more PR than medical science”. [link]