A bill has been passed in the Dáil that will ban the sale of nicotine inhaling products (vapes) to those under 18 – years old.
Put forward by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, the Public Health (Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill includes a number of conditions such as: banning the selling of tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products at events for children, and the advertisement of nicotine inhaling products around schools and public transportation to name a few, described by Irish Legal News.
The attempts to ban the sale and purchase around shops, schools, and vending machines are seen as a positive among many. This is due to the increased health risks of children and young adults over the years.
At the Dáil Éireann debate on 8 November, Deputy Róisín Shortall said; “there is no justification for [vapes] to be brightly coloured or have particular flavours that mimic flavours of sweets.”
Her statement is about the marketing towards the younger generation. This can be seen through the packaging, flavouring and colours of these products which are addressed within the Bill.
Vapes, also known as e-cigarettes, were first thought of and many still consider to be an alternative to smoking. Trendy and treated as healthier due to the lack of tobacco, the different shades and tastes are an added incentive for young people.
However, the Irish Cancer Society noted that while vapes are considered not as harmful as cigarettes, there are still many uncertainties about the long-term effects. The society also stated that vaping “may cause precursor events to cancer, such as lung inflammation”.
Within Ireland, about one in ten Irish people vape and is most common around those aged between 18 and 22 years old, as discovered by European Recycling Platform.
While this statistic is alarming, not only are the health risks of concern but the environmental impact.
There have been many discussions in the past on the full ban of single-use, disposable vapes over the threats they cause environmentally.
Often discarded in public spaces, the material they contain have a bigger impact on the land than thought before due to the amount of plastic and batteries, described within the Dáil debate.
The Bill goes onto state that there will be ‘additional enforcement powers to the Environmental Health Service for measures in the Bill and for all previous Tobacco Control Acts.’
The efforts to completely phase out the consumption of nicotine products and remedy the environmental concerns from disposable vapes appears as a welcome change to some.
As of now, the next stage of the Bill is the Seanad.
While many within the government have urged for more to be done, Minster Donnelly says that he hopes “we are probably all agreed we want this in law before Christmas” and that it is a positive step for Ireland.