Irish government to consider banning sale of vaping products to under-18s
The Irish government is to consider restricting the sale of vaping products to minors and prohibiting advertising.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that any changes to legislation on e-cigarettes will be based on scientific advice and what is advised by public health doctors and experts.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin claimed the vaping industry is targeting children and young people through colourful and flavoured vaping products and ads.
Mr Martin accused the industry of trying to "hook" young people to get them addicted to nicotine through the vaping devices.
He claimed these strategies mirrored the ones used by the tobacco industry.
"The financial muscle behind this epidemic is provided by the tobacco industry," Mr Martin added.
"Children are being targeted, with colourful and flavoured vaping products, in the country's shopping centres, and main streets or locations for pop up shops selling vaping devices, and e-cigarettes.
"Ad campaigns have proliferated nearly every Dublin bus, as well as strategically placed billboards all over Dublin and across the cities and the towns.
"There's been an unacceptable level of youth usage of these products."
He told the Dail that teen e-cigarette use has risen sharply since 2017 and called for the government to ban the sale of vaping products to under-18s and ban advertising products.
Mr Varadkar said that research is being carried out into the impact of vaping on the health of people and children.
"You need to assess the extent to which is damaging to somebody's health and then respond having taken that into account," Mr Varadkar added.
"So there's something certainly that the government will give consideration to restricting the sale of vaping equipment to minors, prohibiting and restricting advertising.
"Anything in the workplace is largely due to secondhand effect and whether the impact of somebody vaping has an impact on the person beside them.
"These are definitely things that government will consider, but we will do it based on the evidence and the scientific advice and what our public health doctors and experts say."
Vaping is widely perceived to be a safer alternative to smoking, however recent research suggests that vaping could damage vital immune system cells and cause lung diseases.
Mr Martin said there is a growing teen use of vaping devices.
"We had been really succeeding in terms of getting young people away from the whole idea of nicotine addiction," he added.
Mr Varadkar agreed that young people are being targeted through advertising and flavoured devices.
He added: "It does have all the hallmarks of what we saw before with flavoured cigarettes, the type of advertising that was carried out for alcopops, all of those things.
"It is a matter that we need to examine with more urgency than has been the case in the past and I will speak to the Health Minister (Simon Harris) and the chief medical officer to look at that scientific advice and to assess where we need to go from here."