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In direct contrast to their counterparts across the globe, the HSE and other public health campaigners in Ireland do not endorse vaping or provide any information on vaping products to Irish smokers who want to quit. Stop Smoking New Zealand, The American Cancer Society Public Health England, Cancer Research UK and many others have endorsed vaping as a viable alternative to smoking. Supported by information from their State, millions of smokers have embraced vaping as a viable alternative to smoking across the globe, but not here in Ireland.

The Government has an ambitious plan for a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025. The target is to have only 5% smoking prevalence in Ireland but there are currently 830,000 (18%) Irish smokers, despite efforts made by the Department of Health in this regard. Vaping has the potential to play its part in moving that remaining 13%. If the Department of Health doesn’t endorse vaping – as has been done by so many of their international counterparts – Tobacco Free Ireland will not be realised by 2025.

VBI spokesperson Alan Buckley said “Irish smokers have been very misinformed on vaping in the past and this has a lot to do with the fact that no information is being made available to them by the State. The Department of Health Healthy Ireland Survey showed that 37% of Irish smokers who quit in 2017 did so through the use of vaping products, this is up from 32% in 2016. If you compare this to the 18% who used NRTs to do the same, the evidence that vaping works is clear. Ireland is so far behind the curve on this one. The HSE and Quit.ie must start providing information on vaping on their websites. Earlier this year, Public Health England determined that vaping could be contributing to more 20,000 quits a year in the UK. By failing to embrace vaping, the Department of Health is disregarding any Irish adult smokers who want to follow in their footsteps and weakening the potential to reach a Tobacco Free Ireland.”

Vape Business Ireland (VBI) is launching VApril, a month dedicated to spreading awareness of the benefits of vaping and to dispelling misinformation to both adult smokers and policy makers in Ireland. Addiction treatment specialist Dr Garrett McGovern of the Priory Medical Clinic in Dublin has welcomed the launch of VApril “I have actively encouraged many of my patients who are smoking to try vaping and the results have been extremely positive. We can’t ignore the facts here, vaping has been proven to be less harmful than smoking. If we want to encourage Irish smokers to move away from smoking, it is vital that they get help with any method that works for them and this has to include vaping.”

As part of #VApril, VBI will be inviting Irish smokers to take part in the Vaping Challenge. By using only vaping products for the month of April, participants should be able to feel the benefits. We will be featuring one participant to document her experiences for the month in trying to quit smoking altogether through vaping who will be available for both print and broadcast interview as well as an ex-smoker who successfully quit in 2016 to about his journey in using vaping to quit.