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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
AP Photo/Christophe Ena
smoke signals

E-cig distributors welcome under-18s ban, call for regulation

Some e-cigarette distributors report that parents have been been attempting to purchase e-cigarettes for their teenage children.

E-CIGARETTES WILL SOON be banned for young people aged under-18 – and the move has been welcomed by the products’ distributors. spoke to a number of companies that distribute the controversial products, all of which welcomed the ban.

One distributor said that it’s about time the sector was regulated.

Call for regulation

At Intellicig, they don’t sell their products to under-18s, said distributor Colm Bodkin. He said that the sector badly needs regulation.

“We really tried to talk to the Department of Health,” said Bodkin, adding that “it would take two months to get meeting” and they did not meet with Department officials when they made the attempts two years ago.

The company distributes their products to retails and also sells online. He said that it is “about time” that a ban on selling the products to under-18s came in, and there “is an absolute requirement for regulation”.

“I would have been one of the first people to import e cigarettes on a larger scale into the country,” said Bodkin, who said he introduced them to pharmacies in Ireland.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland considers it is “not appropriate” for any e-cigarette products to be offered for sale or supply in retail pharmacies in Ireland, given the absence of regulation.

“I do believe that vendors and manufacturers should be divulging the ingredients on their packaging. There’s no need for all these ingredients,” said Bodkin, who said the liquid in his products contain three ingredients: nicotine, de-ionised water and vegetable glycerine.

I think there’s a lot of hysteria around electronic cigarettes.

He said he believes that “flavours do appeal to children” and they should be restricted for sale. However he is not calling for them to be banned.

A lot of the e-cigarette vendors are bringing in their products in from Far Eastern countries. There’s no regulation and no real proof of regulation.

He believes people “are being hoodwinked” and “no one knows what they’re inhaling” when it comes to some products.

Bodkin is from a pharmaceutical background and chose to distribute e-cigarettes as he “thought it was an amazing health product”.

“We really thought in 2010 we were doing a service for smokers. Then all this messing came about,” said Bodkin.

When it comes to regulation, he says he would like the under-18s ban as well as ingredients to be printed, and proven and traceable; lot numbers and sell-by-date on every pack; and certification of all ingredients to be of pharmaceutical grade.

I think they should give decent quality e-cigarettes a chance for smokers to give them the ability to wean themselves off at least the combustible ones.

Parents buying e-cigarettes for their teenage children

Agnes Uramowska, who owns E Bull, an online e-cigarette retailer, along with her husband, said that she welcomed the news. “I absolutely agree that e-cigarettes should only be sold for people who are over 18,” she said.

Their website clearly states that buyers must be over-18. However they have seen some situations where parents have tried to buy the items for their children.

“One mum ordered cigarettes for her son. She called me to ask questions. [The order] was on her name,” said Uramowska.

She said she does not think about whether the ban will have an impact on retailers, as “we know the rules, we know the law. It doesn’t matter if somebody likes it or not.”

At Smoke Green, Eoin Wilde said that they too had never sold their products to under-18s. “You were allowed because it’s not tobacco, it’s nicotine,” he said, pointing out that their policy is to not sell to under-18s.

Smoke Green has its own kiosks and also supplies e-cigarettes to shops. “We have on our box ‘not for 18s’,” he said. However he does not think that teenagers are interested in e-cigarettes. “I don’t really think they’re interested at all,” he said.

He recounted a similar experience to Uramowska: “Once we had a mother, [who] came up wanted to buy it for son as a way to give up. He wanted to give up and she said she was going to buy them.”

Wilde said they thought that a ban on under-18s being sold e-cigarettes “would happen eventually”.

Read: Ireland to ban e-cigarettes for under-18s>

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