Calls to fast track e-cigarette laws and research funding

Royal College of Physicians of Ireland expresses concern over youth use of nicotine

E-cigarettes: “Nicotine is highly addictive and is particularly harmful to the developing brain and other organs of the body,” says Dr Des Cox.  Photograph: Rolex Dela Pena

E-cigarettes: “Nicotine is highly addictive and is particularly harmful to the developing brain and other organs of the body,” says Dr Des Cox. Photograph: Rolex Dela Pena

 

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) has called on the Government to fast track legislative measures to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s and for research funding into these products.

The group is also calling for a minimum increase of €1 on a packet of 20 cigarettes.

In its pre-budget submission, the RCPI says it is time to examine the role of e-cigarettes in tobacco cessation and to examine their health effects, particularly in young people.

Dr Des Cox, chair of the policy group on tobacco at RCPI said: “Over the past few years, e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular among young people in many countries. Urgent action needs to be taken in order to prevent this phenomenon transposing to Ireland.

“Although e-cigarettes are considered to be less harmful than tobacco smoking, exposing young people to nicotine through the use of electronic cigarettes is a significant health concern. Nicotine is highly addictive and is particularly harmful to the developing brain and other organs of the body.”

Tobacco-free Ireland

The group is also calling for the removal of the price difference between roll-your-own products and cigarettes and a “substantial increase” in funding for advertising campaigns promoting an “anti-tobacco message”.

“We are recommending that a research fund of approximately €500,000 over the next five years be created for the purpose of generating new tobacco control measures that will support the Government in its move towards the goal of a tobacco-free Ireland,” the RCPI said.

Dr Cox added: “We know that over half of smokers are considering quitting and most of those who have tried to quit have done so because of the impact on their health.

“We need to encourage them and make cessation methods available and affordable to them, by resourcing smoking cessation programmes and products.”