Healthy Ireland survey reveals current vaping rates among under 25s remain low contrary to commentary on youth uptake
An increase in smoking prevalence and continued dismissal of proven harm reduction options like vaping is first-hand evidence of the State’s failing approach to a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025. That’s according to Vape Business Ireland (VBI) responding to the Healthy Ireland Survey 2021 results published by the Department of Health revealing smoking rates have risen from 17% to 18% over the last two years.
Commenting on the data, VBI National Spokesperson, Eoin O’Boyle said: “Today’s results represent a significant blow to the Government’s ambition of a tobacco free society by 2025. The likely failure to meet this target can be partially attributed to continued dismissal of proven harm reduction options like vaping by our public health bodies. This is in direct contrast to the UK where smoking rates have been in long run decline, a trend supported by a pragmatic approach of adopting and promoting vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoked tobacco.
“While it’s encouraging to see 44% of smokers attempt to quit last year, only one in four quit attempts were successful. This must call into question the effectiveness of supports and the information, or lack of, on all options available to those trying to move away from smoking. If more extensive public information on all proven harm reduction options including vaping was provided by our health bodies, it would go long way to help increase the number successful quit attempts achieved.”
With respect to the use of vaping products the 2021 Healthy Ireland Survey revealed that:
Mr O’Boyle added: “We are concerned that the ongoing misrepresentation and the one-sided nature of commentary on vaping could be having a damaging impact on those who intend to quit or switch to a less harmful alternative to smoking. This is evidenced by a reduction in those who used vaping in an attempt to quit smoking over the last year. We know how challenging the quit journey can be for most and creating unnecessary anxiety around proven harm reduction options like vaping is unhelpful at this critical starting point.
“At the same time, we are encouraged to see that less than 1% of the population who have never smoked use vaping products debunking the argument made that vaping is a potential gateway into smoking. Furthermore, it’s encouraging to see use of vaping products among persons aged 15-25 remains low at 4%. This provides strong contrast to research published earlier this year by the Irish Heart Foundation suggesting that current use of vaping products among 15-16-year-olds is much higher. Given that the Healthy Ireland survey includes this age cohort as part of its much wider survey sample size, the figures clearly demonstrate that current use of vaping products among 15-16-year-olds is nowhere close to what some NGOs are suggesting,” Mr O’Boyle concluded.