The indoor smoking ban must be prolonged to cowl e-cigarettes and the age restrict for purchasing cigarettes prolonged to 21, the Oireachtas well being committee heard on Wednesday morning.
The committee continued scrutiny of the proposed Public Well being (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Merchandise) Invoice 2019, and heard from the Irish Most cancers Society (ICS) and Irish Coronary heart Basis (IHF).
IHF head of advocacy Chris Macey stated analysis exhibits smoking is rising in popularity amongst 15-16-year-olds, for the primary time in 25 years.
He stated 4 measures had been wanted “to turn the tide of youth smoking back in the right direction and robustly address the dangers of vaping to young people”.
He said these should include an “increase the legal age of sale of cigarettes and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21, outlaw all e-cigarette flavours bar tobacco, ban all e-cigarette advertising, and introduce plain packaging on e-cigarette products”.
Displaying e-cigarette liquid cartons, Mr Macey said they are sold “in bright, attractive packaging with cartoon characters” to make them extra attractive for youthful prospects.
His colleague Mark Murphy stated the indoor smoking ban also needs to cowl e-cigarettes.
Mr Macey informed Fantastic Gael TD Colm Burke that analysis exhibits 80% of people who smoke wish to stop and regulation round promoting and smoking must help them.
ICS chief government Averil Energy stated the tobacco business was spending billions to make e-cigarettes engaging for youthful prospects, saying they use “aggressive advertising and child-friendly flavours”.
The Department of Health has previously argued that e-cigarettes were needed to help smokers quit.
Ms Power said: “Let us not forget that all the major e-cigarette companies are owned by ‘big tobacco’.”
She stated firms describe themselves as e-cigarette firms when lobbying the well being committee, however are in reality tobacco firms.
She informed Róisín Shortall, co-leader of the Social Democrats, that there was “resistance” from the Division of Well being to requests from the ICS and IHF to restrict vaping.