The Tánaiste has said he is “really shocked” at the way vaping is being marketed towards young people.
Micheál Martin was speaking as Cabinet prepared to sign off on new laws banning the sale of e-Cigarettes to children in Ireland.
The legislation also bans the advertising of nicotine products near schools and on public transport and reduces the number of vendors permitted to sell them.
Speaking on his way into Cabinet this morning, Minister Martin claimed vaping has a negative impact on people’s health.
'In many ways I see vaping as the revenge of the tobacco industry.' Tánaiste Micheál Martin as Cabinet approves a law which will ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children.
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) May 30, 2023
“I think vaping is very dangerous, particularly for young people and I am really shocked at the manner in which it is being marketed towards young people in particular,” he said.
“I think this legislation is very, very welcome indeed and we will work with the opposition during the course of the legislation if it can be strengthened even further, particularly in terms of the marketing aspect towards young people – because we don’t have to wait another 30 years to discover the negative impacts of vaping on people’s health.
“I’ve always been surprised at how products such as this can so easily get on the market without due diligence in terms of the quality of the product and the damage it can do.”
Impacts of vaping
Because vapes and e-Cigarettes are relatively new innovations, it is too soon for scientists to conclusively say how they may impact on people’s health.
Studies have shown them to be significantly less harmful than smoking, as they are free from most of the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes and tobacco.
There is no good evidence suggesting that vaping can cause cancer; however, they are not risk-free and it is unclear what impact they may have in the long term.
Most vapes do contain nicotine and many disposable versions contain very high levels – meaning they are highly addictive and most medics agree that they should only be used as an aid to quit tobacco use.
A number of other European countries - including Belgium, France and Germany -have introduced similar bans to the one proposed in Ireland.
In the UK, they are recommended as smoking cessation devices – however, they cannot be sold to under-18s and they are not recommended for non-smokers.
“Revenge of the tobacco industry”
Minister Martin said he hopes the new legislation can prevent young people from getting addicted to vaping.
“In many ways, I view vaping as the revenge of the tobacco industry in terms of getting people hooked on nicotine again,” he said.
“Therefore, this legislation is important in making sure that future generations of young people don’t get attracted to vaping and I think it will have that desired impact.”
Cabinet gave the green light to the new legislation this morning, with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly hoping to see it passed before the Dáil’s summer recess.