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The bill to categorise e-cigarettes in Ireland as tobacco products put forward by Senators Averil Power and John Crown is both misguided, nonsensical and demonstrates a bizarrely simplistic, unresearched appreciation of the concept.
Most specialist retailers would welcome the introduction of legislation into the e-cigarette and vaping market. This would ensure safe, high quality products reach the market and stop poor quality products being made available.
However, to classify e-cigarettes as a tobacco product is ludicrous as no tobacco is present and the vaping experience is designed to help people move away from tobacco altogether.A certified seller programme would also be hailed as a positive step as currently e-liquids can be sold in newsagents or shops not associated with vaping, where expertise and advice is not available for someone looking to switch from tobacco cigarettes.
The Research Is Out There
Once again, it seems political statements on vaping are made without looking into the facts, studies and research that is available. It only takes a cursory search to find conclusions by eminent health professionals such as Professor Robert West, Professor Peter Hayak or Dr. Michael Mosley that state how safe and beneficial vaping can be in the fight against smoking.
Their lab tests have demonstrated that there are no discernable toxins either entering or leaving the body when inhaling or exhaling the vapour. This means that vaping poses no passive smoking threat.
Nicotine is an addictive substance but is in no way carcinogenic. It does, in fact, possess similar addictive qualities to caffeine. E-cigarette e-liquid does contain varying strengths of nicotine and people use a strength that gives them a feeling akin to their previous smoking habit. We can then advise them on how to reduce their strength to vape with lower nicotine levels.
In Ireland over 21% of people smoke and smoking related diseases kill 50% of smokers. It costs over €2 billion to treat those affected. If the Government took a sensible, balanced approach to vaping and informed people of the benefits and equally of the on-going research then these stats could drop dramatically. Potentially e-cigarettes have the capacity to save billions of lives.
What’s Their Agenda?
The Government receives an incredible amount of tax revenue from tobacco products and you can’t help but feel that this hostility and measures to classify e-cigarettes in Ireland as tobacco based products is a simple scam to ensure that e-cigarettes are taxed at a similar rate.I cannot believe Senators Power and Crown want people to keep smoking so questions regarding their actual agenda have to be raised, as this hostility towards vaping is somewhat absurd.
Elements of Legislation Would Be Welcomed
The senators are right when they say no current legislation exists that stops the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. However, no specialist retailer would sell to their products to minors, so this aspect of legislation would be welcomed.
There is no evidence to suggest that vaping represents and gateway to traditional smoking and no evidence exists to say that minors are taking up vaping. In fact, the contrary is true – evidence suggests that under 18’s are not taking up vaping.
When it comes to the dangers of e-liquid to children in the home then common sense should prevail. Any parent with e-liquid in the house should store it in a safe place, as they would do with other hazardous household products. We haven’t banned bleach because consuming it would kill you – society expects parents to take a common sense approach.
This revolutionary product will have far reaching positive effects on society – it is an industry in its infancy and on-going research and monitoring should be encouraged but not Draconian, stifling measures that could cripple the progress.Senators Power and Crown should look at their own motives for making such public claims regarding e-cigarettes in Ireland without taking the accepted evidence on board. They should look at the available research, talk to vaping specialists and long-term users before making unfounded statements.
The parliamentary debate should be revolving around how to better inform the public regarding this healthier alternative, how to stop the scaremongering and how to monitor the industry going forward – not how to ensure people stick to smoking traditional cigarettes.