Politics & Campaigns

Responsible Advocacy in Ireland

Ireland’s Joint Committee on Health met last week and heard from vaping advocates about its proposals to change the laws applied to the vape industry and vaping products

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Ireland’s Joint Committee on Health met last week and heard from vaping advocates about its proposals to change the laws applied to the vape industry and vaping products. The Committee heard from the Irish Vape Vendors Association by way of balance to the puritanical, non-evidenced-based claims from public health bodies.

Research produced by the Health Research Board (HRB) made the claim that vaping is a gateway to smoking in teens – something that simply isn’t seen on this side of the Irish Sea. The HRB stated that vaping makes youths up to five times more likely to progress to smoking cigarettes.

The Irish Heart Foundation previously told the Committee that there is an “explosion of vaping” in Irish teenagers – a statement that mirrors similar baseless claims made in the United States.

Irish Vape Vendors Association’s Declan Connolly pointed out that, “smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland with almost 6,000 smokers dying each year from smoking related diseases.

“There is never a situation where it is better to smoke than it is to vape. Currently there are approximately 200,000 e-cigarette users in Ireland. The majority of these vapers have given up smoking completely.”

Connolly added: “38% of those who made an attempt to quit smoking in Ireland in 2019 used e-cigarettes during this attempt. This should be encouraged.”

Heading off objections about influence, he highlighted the fact that the IVVA represents independent vape retailers who “are not owned, nor are under the control of Big Tobacco.”

Declan told the Committee: “The main argument in favour of banning flavoured e-liquids is the potential risk of making vaping products more attractive to minors with child-friendly flavourings and packaging. The association between vaping flavours and subsequent smoking initiation is not substantiated.

“Banning flavoured e-liquids would also run counter to vape consumers’ interest. IVVA members observe daily that the choice of e-liquid flavours is one of the reasons that encourages an adult smoker make the switch to vaping.”

He also addressed the subject of underage e-cig use: “We believe in protecting youth and that the most effective way of preventing youth consumption is by enforcing legal age control and strict advertising rules. IVVA respectfully calls on decision and policy makers to have a closer look at the potential consequences of such a ban."

New Nicotine Alliance Ireland submitted comprehensive documentation in favour of an evidence-based approach – but was not invited to the meeting at Leinster House despite representing the users of vape products.

NNA Ireland said: “We made our submission in Dec2020, which seems like a lifetime ago and much data and evidence has since emerged which supports our case. It is disappointing that we did not get invited to make a presentation in person”.

The full submission from NNA Ireland can be read here.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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