Photo of e-cigarette
Date: 
October 22, 2019

Irish Cancer Society statement re e-cigarettes

The Irish Cancer Society today welcomed the news that Minister Simon Harris brought proposed legislation to Cabinet to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s, but warned that far more comprehensive regulation of e-cigarettes is needed.

Averil Power, Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society said: “We’re pleased that Government is acting to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to children, but far more needs to be done to prevent an explosion in childhood nicotine addiction. We also need to see an extension of tobacco advertising restrictions to e-cigarettes, along with a ban on e-cigarette flavouring.”

“We must act quickly to protect children’s health. In the United States, youth e-cigarette addiction has been described as an ‘epidemic’ and we need to respond to ensure this isn’t replicated in Ireland. Already, we know that about 1 in 4 15-17 year olds in Ireland have tried e-cigarettes at least once, with 6 in 10 saying they tried them ‘out of curiosity’.”

“From 2017 – 2018, there was an increase of 1.5 million teenagers using e-cigarettes in the US. Flavouring has proven one of the main attractions for teens to use e-cigarettes with over 15,000 flavours on the market there. Recent studies have shown that adolescents were more likely to report interest in trying an e-cigarette offered by a friend if it were flavoured like menthol, candy, or fruit compared to tobacco. In the US, among teens who have ever tried an e-cigarette, 96% used a flavoured product their first time.

“New, aggressively marketed e-cigarette products which have recently arrived on the Irish market, helped precipitate the surge in teen addiction in the US. The Government must take a stand against the same old tobacco industry tactics being used to get another generation of children addicted to nicotine.”

“Ireland has an exemplary record in public health legislation and has been a world leader on tobacco control in the past. We must now be brave and take new, comprehensive steps to stop youth nicotine addiction.”

The Society also welcomed new tobacco control measures in the legislation discussed at Cabinet today, including a ban on vending machines, new licencing rules and a proposal to stop the sale of tobacco at events organised for children.

Averil Power said these were “welcome steps towards making smoking less attractive and accessible, and protecting young people.”