Deputy Broughan has recently asked the Minister for Health his views on plans to regulate vaping and whether he is considering an outright ban on vaping products.  The response to the Parliamentary Question stated that the review by the Health Research Board of evidence on the health harms of e-cigarettes is due to be completed in March 2020.  The review is also studying “their effectiveness as an aid to smoking cessation and whether they act as a gateway to smoking tobacco products” and the Minister said that the review’s “findings will contribute to informing any additional regulation in this area.”

Of course, the Public Health (Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill is being drafted and “will include provisions to prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products, including e-cigarettes, to and by persons under 18 years and will introduce a licensing system for the retail sale of nicotine inhaling products”.  There are already European regulations on vaping (European Union (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 271 of 2016) which transpose EU Directive 2014/40/EU on Tobacco and Related Products).

The PQ reply stated “The Regulations provide for mandatory safety and quality requirements for e-cigarettes and refill containers, including maximum nicotine concentrations for e-cigarettes containing nicotine, and maximum volumes for cartridges, tanks and nicotine liquid containers. In addition, the Regulations require e-cigarette manufacturers or importers to notify the Health Service Executive of all products that they place on the market and, if a manufacturer, importer or distributor has a reason to believe that a product is not safe, they are required to immediately notify the Health Service Executive and to explain what corrective action has been taken.

Under the Regulations there must be health warnings on packaging which advise consumers that e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. Finally, the Regulations prohibit advertisements for e-cigarettes on television and radio, online, and in printed publications, other than publications directed at persons in the e-cigarette industry or publications outside the EU.”

Deputy Broughan says “There are emerging reports and studies on the negative health impacts of vaping and I think it is something that should be taken more seriously.  March 2020 is far too long to wait for the result of the review.  The Philippines have now banned vaping and the American Medical Association recently called for a total ban on e-cigarette and vaping products also.  There was welcome news last week that less people are now smoking in Ireland (just 17%).”