There is a growing concern among Irish vape product retailers and manufacturers regarding an increase in false fears preventing smokers from using vaping products to switch from smoking. That’s according to Vape Business Ireland (VBI), Ireland’s largest vaping trade association who were responding to Public Health England’s (PHE) sixth independent e-cigarette report., commissioned from researchers at King’s College London.
The report provides an update on the use of nicotine vaping products among young people and adults, and public perceptions of the harmfulness of vaping. Reflecting on the findings, VBI said: “We are worried to see an increasing number of smokers now believe vaping is more harmful than smoking. These false fears are in direct contrast with expert reviews from the UK and US which cite that the use of regulated nicotine vaping products is far less harmful than smoking and we welcome PHE’s advice that smokers should use vaping products to help them switch from smoking.”
“It’s concerning to see the impact the US lung disease outbreak in Autumn 2019 has had on smokers and their perception of using vaping products to switch from smoking. The US authorities have now confirmed that vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent added to cannabis vaping liquid, was the primary cause of the US outbreak and we are keen to affirm that this substance is banned in all Irish-regulated nicotine vaping products under EU legislation.”
According to the 2019 Healthy Ireland Survey, released by the Department of Health in November 2019, there are now over 200,000 vapers in Ireland, with 13 per cent of ex-smokers using vaping products. Only one per cent of non-smokers use vaping products in Ireland. It is the view of VBI that vaping has a significant role to play in achieving the State’s objective of a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025.
VBI added: “It is vital that this wave of misinformation stops, as researchers fear that smokers are being deterred by safety fears from using vaping products to switch from smoking. Vaping has helped thousands of Irish smokers reduce or quit to date and smokers who are considering vaping as an aid to switch should be reassured by the PHE’s authoritative and detailed report. We are calling on Irish authorities, including the HSE to step-up to the mark and follow the example set by PHE in this area, by committing to the prevention of false information being circulated to adult smokers looking for a less harmful alternative”.
PHE has commissioned a full review of the evidence on the safety of vaping products, which will be published in 2022.