The Oireachtas Health Committee has just published a proposal that includes a flavour ban, plain packaging and a ban adverts for vaping products.
The Pre-Legislative Scrutiny report contains recommendations from ten Members of the Dáil and might serve as an early draft of the Bill. Vaping advocacy groups reiterated the counterproductive effects that flavour bans can have. Director of World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) Michael Landl reiterated that studies have shown that vapers who use flavours are twice as likely to quit smoking than those using tobacco flavours.
In fact last year, the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) held an art installation in front of the European Parliament with an important message for policymakers: “Flavours help smokers quit”.
The negative impact of misinformation
With regards to the proposal in Ireland, the WVA explained that ad restrictions and plain packaging for vaping prevent crucial information about the relative risks of different products from reaching consumers. Landl added that its crucial that adult consumers have access to accurate information.
Meanwhile, data recently released by Ireland’s Department of Health from the Healthy Ireland Survey 2021 has indicated that smoking rates have risen from 17% to 18% over the last two years. Commenting on the figures, Vape Business Ireland (VBI) said that this increase in smoking rates could be attributed to continued dismissal of proven harm reduction options like vaping, adding that this is first-hand evidence that the State’s strategy to achieve a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025 is failing.
On the otherhand, dismissing all the scientific evidence to the contrary, a study by the TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland (TFRI) in Dublin, presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Barcelona, claimed that vapes are acting as a gateway to nicotine addiction in teens.
The TFRI study said that e-cigarette uptake nearly doubled between 2014 and 2019, becoming “a route into nicotine addiction” for young people, with less parental monitoring and having peers who vape believed to be major factors in teen use. Director general of TFRI, Professor Luke Clancy, said that emerging patterns of e-cig use are worrying.
Another Irish study presented at the same congress reported that while teen boys have a greater risk for e-cigarette use, risk among teen girls is on the increase. Analysing data from two Irish waves of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD), the researchers included 3,421 adolescents aged about 16 years from 50 schools. The compiled data indicated that while there were more increases in vaping among boys, the increase happened at a faster rate in girls.