State agency to grant-aid e-cigarette production in Connemara

Minister for Health considering regulation

Electronic cigarettes being manufactured in China.

Electronic cigarettes being manufactured in China.

 


As Minister for Health Dr James Reilly considers banning the sale of e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18, State agency Údarás na Gaeltachta is to grant-aid a €5 million project to produce e-cigarettes in north Connemara.

Almost 140 jobs are to be created by Rossport Pharmaceutical at an e-cigarette assembly plant in the Gaeltacht area of Cornamona, close to the Galway-Mayo border.

E-cigarettes, which are battery powered and contain a cartridge filled with nicotine that has been dissolved in water, are not subject currently to the same regulatory controls as cigarettes.


Potential benefits
The vapour emitted is free of harmful substances such as tar, but Dr Reilly has said he is currently reviewing the evidence on “the potential harm and the potential benefits of e-cigarettes before deciding the best approach to their wider regulation”. Earlier this week he indicated he may ban their sale to minors.

The new plant in Cornamona, due to open in a facility owned by Údarás na Gaeltachta, will support Rossport Pharmaceutical operations across Ireland and Europe.

Údarás na Gaeltachta said it understood that the company would welcome any regulation, and was focused mainly on sales to the British market, where more than a million people use e-cigarettes.

Some studies have shown that 10 per cent of cigarette smokers have converted to less harmful e-cigarettes, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

The Department of Health said that in its view, e-cigarettes contained a “highly addictive and dangerous drug”, nicotine.

“Tobacco Free Ireland recommends the establishment of a regulatory framework for nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, in the context of discussions at EU level,” the department said.