Vaping products aren’t regulated, and we don’t know what’s in themAll vaping products sold in Ireland must be notified to the Department of Health six months in advance of launch. All Irish and EU vaping devices and liquids are regulated by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPDII). TPDII regulates nicotine strengths, bottle sizes and ensures communications about products are factual and clear. The ingredients that make up all Irish regulated vaping products must be provided to the Health Service Executive, with detailed information including chemical studies and risk assessments.
These regulations act as an important barrier to any products that do not adhere to EU standards entering the Irish market and can be contrasted sharply with the absence of similar regulations in the US and elsewhere. For example, Vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent added to cannabis vaping liquid in the US, is banned in all Irish-regulated nicotine vaping products under EU legislation.
The nicotine in vaping products makes them as dangerous as smoking
Vaping products are not the same as traditional cigarettes. They do not burn tobacco and do not produce tar or carbon monoxide – the most damaging elements in traditional cigarettes.
Vaping is far less harmful than smoking. According to the ‘Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products 2018’, a report commissioned by Public Health England, ‘vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking.’
Cancer Research UK have also stated that ‘evidence so far indicates e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco smoking.'
Public Health England say, ‘although nicotine is the reason people become addicted to smoking, it is the thousands of other chemicals contained in cigarette smoke that causes almost all of the harm.’
The Royal Society for Public Health say 'nicotine is no more harmful to health than caffeine.'
Vaping products aren’t effective for smoking cessationVaping products can play an important role in achieving the Government’s objective of a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025.
In February 2019, the National Institute for Health Research and Cancer Research UK stated that ‘in Local Stop Smoking Services, a standard e-cigarette was twice as effective at helping smokers to quit compared with the quitters’ choice of combination nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).’
One Poll research conducted in the UK in March 2019 found that ‘nearly two thirds of vapers (68%) said they never thought they would quit smoking until vaping came along.’
Healthy Ireland Survey 2019
Percentage of those who made an attempt to quit smoking used e-cigarettes during this attempt38%
Percentage of Irish vapers who are smokers or ex-smokers99%
Vaping products are targeted at young people
There is no evidence in Ireland that vaping is being targeted at young people. TPDII and the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) Code of Conduct ensures that products are only targeted at adults. Advertising on TV and social media is heavily restricted.
Despite numerous calls by Vape Business Ireland and public health activists, the Government has still not made the sale of vaping products to under 18’s illegal. This could be done by a simple amendment to the Public Health (Tobacco) Act.
Making this amendment would protect young people and create an environment in which it is understood that vaping products are strictly for adult smokers.
In the absence of this legislation, all VBI members must follow a strict Code of Conduct to ensure no underage sales which requires members to only sell vaping products to those 18 and over and to always request ID if there is any doubt about a person’s age.
Independent health bodies are against vapingMajor public health authorities and health bodies across the UK and worldwide have backed vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking, including Public Health England, ASH UK, Cancer Research UK, and the British Medical Association. Unfortunately, their Irish counterparts (Irish Cancer Society, ASH Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation) do not hold the same progressive and evidence-based position.
For example in New Zealand, ‘Vaping Facts’ is a dedicated website curated by the Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Agency for people who are looking to quit smoking and those who support them, as well as anyone interested in the role of vaping in New Zealand as a way to quit.
We are calling on the Government and HSE to embrace vaping as a less harmful alternative to smoking and offer smokers clear, factual, information on its Quit.ie website. The Government has an ambitious plan for a Tobacco Free Ireland which has a target of 5% smoking prevalence by 2025 but the figure is currently stuck at 17%. Vaping can help our public health if we listen to the science.
Passive vaping poses health risks to bystanders
‘There have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders’ according to the Public Health England Vaping Evidence Review 2018.
Vaping does as much damage to our hearts and lungs as tobacco smoking
A study conducted by the British Heart Foundation and the University of Dundee in November 2019 on persons who switched from tobacco cigarettes to vaping products showed that within just one month of switching, the ‘measures of blood vessel health, including blood pressure and stiffness of their arteries, had started to improve.'