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Public to be consulted about future laws on vaping, as Donnelly 'deeply concerned' about child usage

It is believed the “exotic flavouring” and “colourful packaging” make vaping products attractive to children.

A PUBLIC CONSULTATION has been launched to help determine future regulation of tobacco and nicotine products such as vapes.

Among the changes being considered are increasing prices of the products and placing further restrictions on advertising.

 Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he is “deeply concerned” about the rise in popularity of vaping among young people, in particular.

“We have already taken strong action and will have legislation in place by the end of this year, which will ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children and require a licence to sell them,” he said.

“This consultation will help us make effective decisions to protect our children from an addictive product, while reducing the extreme harm caused by smoking.

“While I understand that e-cigarettes are used by many adults who are trying to quit smoking, I am deeply concerned by the rise in popularity of vaping among young people. These products clearly appeal to children and young people, and we do not yet know the long-term health impacts of their use.”

There is concern that people are beginning to vape not as a strategy to quit smoking, but as a completely new addiction, Minister of State for the National Drug Strategy Hildegarde Naughton said.

“We know that young people who vape are more likely to go on to smoke, so it is important that they are not drawn to these products.

“As Minister with delegated responsibility for public health and wellbeing, I want to ensure that we leave no stone unturned when it comes to delivering the best start for every child in Ireland.”

The “exotic flavouring” and “colourful packaging”, Naughton said, make many vaping products attractive to children.

Over the next four weeks, the public will be consulted on a number of areas, including:

  • The display of nicotine inhaling products in shops
  • Nicotine inhaling product flavours
  • The appearance of nicotine inhaling products
  • Proxy sales of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products
  • Smoking in outdoor dining areas
  • Extending smoke free restrictions to vaping
  • Increasing the age of sale for tobacco products
  • Increasing the price of vapes

Donnelly and Naughton want “as many people as possible” to engage with the public consultation over the coming weeks.

The public consultation is now open for submissions for a six-week period until Friday 5 January 2024.

Smokers’ rights group Forest Ireland has criticised recommendations to further regulate the sector, saying there is a risk that policy will be created “in haste”.

Spokesperson John Mallon said: “We urge the government not to succumb to some moral panic about vaping, and to regulate reduced risk products with a light touch that doesn’t impact on their effectiveness as a safer alternative to cigarettes.”

Raising the legal age of sale of tobacco is “gesture politics”, he added. “It won’t stop young people smoking. It will simply drive them into the arms of illegal traders and criminal gangs who won’t care what age they are.”

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