A General Election is being held in Ireland on February 8th and 5 per cent of the electorate is being ignored by the main political parties. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Irish Green Party all promote policies to further marginalise the hundreds of thousands of current vapers in Ireland.
Fianna Fail has suggested banning what they describe as “child focussed flavours” by which they mean all flavours. Most adult vapers consume dessert, fruit and candy flavours to distance themselves from the taste of tobacco so, under this proposal, will be deprived of a significant factor in ensuring they stay away from smoking. The party has also stated they intend to remove vaping entirely as part of their smoke free Ireland targets.
The Green Party boasts about how it intends to introduce “comprehensive e-cigarette legislation covering advertising and flavouring”, while Fine Gael’s manifesto proposes a “licensing system for the retail sale of nicotine-inhaling products” and a “ban on advertising on public transport and in cinemas” while also making it known that they too wish to discourage vaping through targeted taxation.
All these policies are designed to make vaping less accessible to vapers and to smokers who could benefit by switching to safer products for the good of their health. Crucially, these political positions have been formulated in ignorance and without even a cursory consultation with the citizens who will be most affected by them. Vapers are passionate about their choice to improve their health by switching to safer products and well-known to place this high in their priorities when they come to vote.
"Vapers have no party representing them at the General Election this year”, says Damian Sweeney of ETHRA partner NNA Ireland, “we already have sensible regulation of vaping under the EU Tobacco Products Directive, it is irresponsible to damage that by unthinkingly restricting vastly safer products. There are currently between 180,000 to 250,000 vapers in Ireland, making up 5 per cent of the public according to the latest Healthy Ireland Survey, yet no party supports us.
“In advance of the General Election, around 200,000 votes are up for grabs for any enlightened party who would do their research and embrace vaping as a revolutionary innovation which has been responsible for reducing smoking rates all over the world."
"The first and most important thing any future government should do is engage with the people who use these products,”, said Tom Gleeson of NNA Ireland. “They are the ones who will be affected and have the greatest stake in any regulatory outcome. We would advise Irish vapers to question candidates on the doorstep to ask why they are marginalising a significant section of the population without talking to us."
NNA Ireland has today released their General Election Policy which you can read on their website here.