A GAA club has banned people from vaping on the sidelines amid concerns about the message the habit sends to young people.
Vapes, or e-cigarettes, contain nicotine and as such can be highly addictive.
Many people use them as an alternative to tobacco but the HSE has cautioned vaping is “not harm free” and the long-term impact on a person’s health is not yet known.
Vaping is increasingly popular among young people and St. Fechin's GAA in County Louth has decided it will no longer be allowed on the sidelines.
“We’ve had a no-smoking policy since 2017 in the grounds and it was very well received,” Health and Wellbeing Officer Michelle Mooney told The Hard Shoulder.
“It’s very well adhered to but we’ve decided that vaping was becoming a problem - especially with young people - and we felt it shouldn’t be something we should have on our sidelines.”
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) February 18, 2023
Previously, there were usually three or four people vaping on the sidelines of a match and Ms Mooney said most people were supportive of the ban.
“It’s great,” she said.
“We have plenty of signage up now around the club and people are very aware of it as they come in that it’s not something that’s allowed on the grounds.
“Most of the people are very well-mannered and have no problem with it.”
Ms Mooney believes vaping is currently “too accessible” and is concerned scientists do not know yet what the long-term effects will be.
With that in mind, she hopes the ban makes people think twice about vaping.
“It’s getting the message out there and people will see that it’s not okay to do it,” she said.
“We’re hoping the message will filter down to the younger people; we’re concerned about their health, obviously, as a GAA club.”
The HSE offers a range of supports to vapers who would like to quit.
Main image: A person uses a handheld battery-powered vaporizer to smoke an e-cigarette. Picture by: Robin Utrecht/Sipa USA.