Tánaiste Micheál Martin has addressed the future possibility of banning the use of disposable vapes.
The Tánaiste was asked about the issue following the news from the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that the UK will be banning the products, in an effort to prevent further damages to children’s health.
Vapes – otherwise known as e-cigarettes – were initially brought in as a “healthier” alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, they have become increasingly popular with children, with a recent survey showing that 9% of 11 to 15 year olds in the UK use vapes.
Speaking about the new legislation at the time, Mr Sunak stated: “As any parent or teacher knows, one of the most worrying trends at the moment is the rise in vaping among children, and so we must act before it becomes endemic.”
He added: “The long-term impacts of vaping are unknown and the nicotine within them can be highly addictive, so while vaping can be a useful tool to help smokers quit, marketing vapes to children is not acceptable.”
The Irish Government confirmed in December that they would be introducing a ban on the sale of vapes to under-18s. However, it is not yet known whether the Cabinet will follow the UK’s lead in banning disposable vapes.
“I would hope so. I am very anti-vapes, generally,” Mr Martin stated, when asked for his thoughts on the matter.
“I was in the shops over the weekend and it’s kind of depressing to see something which we managed to do with tobacco, we got tobacco off the shelves at the entrance into a shop,” he explained.
“Clearly the objective is to get kids, get young people, get teenagers hooked and you have an industry for the next 50 years, without any proper due diligence on what goes into these products,” the Tánaiste added.
“I welcome any means to crack down on the sector. I just think it’s shocking the number of young people who are on the vapes now and it seems to me to be the replacement for cigarettes,” he concluded.