In the Irish Heart Foundation’s Budget Submission 2021, they have called for a new tax on vaping products to protect young people from nicotine addiction. While we strongly support preventing youth access to vaping products, we think the call for a tax on vaping products is inappropriate. The introduction of such a tax may lead to an increase in the cost of vaping products and would act as a significant deterrent for smokers currently looking for an alternative to smoking. It may also push ex-smokers back to smoking. This is contrary to the objective of achieving a Tobacco Free Ireland as set out by Government and supported by groups like the Irish Heart Foundation.
The fact that the Irish Heart Foundation does not want tax increases to be of a magnitude that could push individuals back to cigarettes and its recognition of how vaping products help people quit smoking for good, is a clear indication of the role that vaping can play as we move towards a Tobacco Free Ireland.
The most effective measure to prevent access for our young people would be to introduce legislation ensuring that the sale of vaping products is restricted to those who are aged 18 and over. This is something that we have been calling on Government to implement for several years now and we believe is a more viable solution to quickly implement, while avoiding the risk of pushing people back to cigarettes.