A senator calls for stricter regulations on the e-cig industry

Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhalants) Bill 2019 being drafted.

A local senator has called for stricter regulation of the e-cigarette industry, arguing that a ‘balance’ is needed between weaning long-term adult addicts and risking non-smokers, especially children. , can start vaping.

“We need to try to balance the potential benefits of e-cigarettes for adult smokers trying to quit with the risks that more non-smokers, especially children and especially young children, will start vaping,” said said Senator Diarmuid Wilson yesterday.

Cavan representative Fianna Fail shared the opinion in her opening address to Minister of State for Public Health, Welfare and the National Drug Strategy, Frank Feighan, at Seanad.

Sharing time with fellow Fine Gael Oireachtas Senator Micheál Carrigy, Sen Wilson said vape shops were “sprouting up” in cities and towns across the country, located in “prime locations with very expensive rents”. They seem to be open everyday. I have never come across a store that only sells cigarettes because it would not be financially viable to do so. Something needs to be done about the regulation of these stores.

Last March, the Health Committee resumed a discussion on the 2019 bill on the general public health regime (tobacco and nicotine inhalants).

Sen Carrigy said earlier that people could buy disposable vapes for as little as €5 giving up to 10-20mg of nicotine, or buy vapes containing up to 50mg, the equivalent of 50 cigarettes.

He called for a licensing system for the sale of electronic cigarettes similar to tobacco products, a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, as well as a number of other measures, including a ban on the use of vaping in sports fields and more investment. in education.

Sen Wilson agreed, adding to the list a ban on cigarette flavors, which are believed to appeal largely to children and young adults.

Although e-cigarettes are currently subject to fewer restrictions than the sale of tobacco cigarettes, as they are considered consumer products, the EU Tobacco Products Directive regulates certain aspects of e-cigarettes, including: minimum standards safety and quality; notification of ingredients; packaging and labeling, including health warnings; and a ban on advertising in print, broadcast, online and other electronic media, although outdoor advertising is permitted on buses and billboards.

In response, MP Feighan assured that the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhalants) Bill 2019, which addresses these issues, is a “legislative priority” for this government.

He said nicotine inhalers, such as e-cigarettes or e-cigarettes, are “relatively new” and the science regarding their public health effects is “constantly evolving”.

“Analysis in this regard is made more difficult by the rapid and continuous evolution of the products themselves. For example, an e-cigarette from ten years ago has nothing to do with products currently on the market. Significant questions exist around the use of these products and there is no scientific consensus on their harms or benefits,” Deputy Feighan added, noting that the likelihood of smoking initiation varied from study to study – the conclusion being that there was a “higher likelihood” among teenagers who started smoking. using electronic cigarettes.

“The bill is currently being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and the intention is for it to be enacted as soon as possible. The bill will need to be brought to the EU level to assess its alignment with single market principles and, subject to that process, it will go to the Oireachtas as soon as possible.

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