Micheál Martin calls for vaping ban for under 18s

Taoiseach agrees more urgency needed to tackle issue but says he must ‘look at the science’

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described the tobacco industry as one of the ‘most evil’ sectors. Photograph: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described the tobacco industry as one of the ‘most evil’ sectors. Photograph: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

 

Greater urgency is needed to deal with the growing problem of vaping because of the number of young people getting hooked on e-cigarettes, the Dáil has heard.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described the tobacco industry as one of the “most evil” sectors that “consigned millions to their death” and said alarm bells should have gone off because the tobacco industry is involved.

Mr Martin, a former minister for health who introduced the ban on smoking in public places, asked “when will the Government introduce legislation to ban the sale of vaping to under 18s and will the Government introduce legislation to ban all advertising of vaping products?”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar agreed more urgency was needed than has been the case. But he said they had to look at the science and added that “there are lots of things that people do that are bad for your health that we don’t necessarily restrict them or ban advertising for them”.

During leaders’ questions Mr Martin expressed concern that “there is a terrible complacency” by Government about vaping which had been developing since 2007.

There is “growing teen use and we had been really succeeding in getting children away” from smoking.

He highlighted research from the Centres for Disease Control in the US which showed that over 1,000 lung injuries and 19 deaths already from vaping.

A vaporizer or electronic cigarette is used to inhale vapour made from liquid, concentrate or dry herb.

Mr Martin said the tobacco industry was using the same strategy in vaping, getting young people hooked with colourful, flavoured products and he could not understand how the industry was allowed to develop in the first place.

The Taoiseach agreed it was a concern that the tobacco industry was involved and he would raise it with the Minister for Health and Chief Medical Officer.

Mr Varadkar told Mr Martin “I acknowledge your work as a minister for health many decades ago in banning smoking in public places”.

He said the Government would give consideration to restricting the sale of vaping equipment to minors. But he stressed that “we need to look at the science and listen to the public health care experts”.