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Is tougher legislation needed for e-cigarettes?

That’s what the the Irish Cancer Society is calling for.

Image: Shutterstock/Marc Bruxelle

THE IRISH CANCER Society is calling for tougher legislation on e-cigarettes in Ireland.

A new survey shows shows the popularity of the devices is continuing to grow in Ireland.

17% of the 1,150 adults polled by the organisation smoked, with one-in-four currently using the devices. Of the smokers surveyed, 45% intend to take them up in the next six months.

The Irish Cancer Society said that by extrapolating these figures, it estimates as many as 210,000 people are currently using the devices in Ireland.

Rather than cutting out normal cigarettes, 3 in 5 (64%) current users are still smoking tobacco as well. The organisation said it believes shows the devices could actually increase nicotine dependency.

“The vast majority of e-cigarette users are smokers looking to cut down or quit,” Kathleen O’Meara, head of advocacy, said.

If e-cigarettes are to be considered a quitting aid in the future, they need to be properly regulated by the Department of Health.

“We are calling for them to be designated as a medicinal device in the same way nicotine patches and gum are now. Ireland is lagging behind on bringing in such laws. Austria, Sweden and Denmark have all introduced legislation making nicotine-containing e-cigarettes medicinal products.”

The majority also called for e-cigarettes to be banned from the workplace.

The organisation believes this will mean their safety and use can be more easily monitored.

Other results of the survey include:

  • 23% claim to be former smokers. Over 1 in 4 (26%) smoke a 20 pack a day while 1 in 5 (19%) smoke 10 cigarettes a day. Average consumption is 15 cigarettes a day
  • 5% of current smokers claim they used e-cigarettes prior to starting smoking
  • 4 in 5 (80%) first tried e-cigarettes to give up or cut down on smoking. Personal health (59%) and financial reasons (29%) are the key drivers for giving up or reducing. Novelty was also a factor
  • Over 2 in 3 agree the sale of e-cigarettes to minors should be banned and that not enough is known about the side-effects of using e-cigarettes
  • 53% believe devices should be banned from the work place.

Poll: Would you welcome plain pack cigarettes? >

More: Find it difficult to quit smoking? This might be why >

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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