YOUNG people are being drawn into nicotine addiction through vaping, and regulation of electronic cigarettes is needed to combat the problem.
That is the view of Cork North Central TD Billy Kelleher, who said that protecting public health requires a bold new approach on the regulation and marketing of these products.
“The availability and use of e-cigs have exploded across our country,” he said.
“From the smallest village to every corner of our cities, citizens are bombarded with marketing and special offers on devices encouraging them to consume highly addictive nicotine.
“While Europe has provided some guidance on the immediate dangers of these devices, it is not enough.”
Mr Kelleher rejected the argument that e-cigarettes were a useful tool to wean people away from smoking tobacco, which has more serious health consequences.
“It is increasingly clear that this is not a sustainable argument and is in fact deeply disingenuous,” he said.
“The proliferation of ever more exotic flavours is clear evidence of an effort to draw in new, and younger consumers of nicotine.
“And we have known for decades that tobacco companies explicitly understood that nicotine was their primary product and manipulated the ingredients of cigarettes to increase the addictiveness of nicotine.”
He is calling for restrictions on the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes and suggested the state should also consider banning flavouring of the vaping liquids which could make them more attractive to young people.
“We can surely agree that driving increasing numbers of young people into nicotine addiction is a bad thing,” he said.
“For that reason, I believe that we must now move, at a national and European level to a much more aggressive approach.
“In the first instance, these products should be subject to the same restrictions as traditional non-pharmacy nicotine delivery products. This should include in-store restrictions and bans on advertising.”