Cancer Society here wants research on safety of vaping
It is too soon to describe e-cigarettes as a reputable product for combating smoking, the Irish Cancer Society has said.
Experts in the UK are seeking to have the vaping devices made available on prescription for people who want to give up tobacco.
New research released by Public Health England (PHE) states: "E-cigarettes have the potential to make a significant contribution to the endgame for tobacco." They say that e-cigarettes are 20 times less dangerous than tobacco.
However, the cancer society here says that further studies into the long-term affects of vaping are needed before it could endorse the products.
Eoin Bradley, policy officer with the Irish Cancer Society (ICS), told the Irish Independent that e-cigarettes are "an area (which) is moving very fast.The Irish Cancer Society will be reviewing any position on the basis of new evidence."
The ICS still points people who want to quit to traditional methods, such as patches, gum and counselling, rather than vaping.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland has received a number of inquiries about the possibility of e-cigarettes being offered for sale or supply in pharmacies.
However, chemists are unable to stock e-cigarettes as they are not yet regulated in Ireland.
The HSE has outlined that an EU Directive which has considered the role of e-cigarettes has recommended that they be regulated as a nicotine-delivery device.
New legislation is expected to be introduced next year that will apply similar rules to e-cigarettes as those already in place for tobacco products.
E-cigarettes are currently banned in a number of countries around the world, with Hong Kong, Brazil, the UAE and Panama having taken a hardline stance on vaping.
In Ireland, they are banned in many work places, on Dublin Bus, trains, hospitals and in some shopping centres.
Vape Business Ireland, which is a business alliance encouraging debate about vaping products in Ireland, has welcomed statements from Public Health England that e-cigarettes "carry just a fraction of the harm" of tobacco.
A spokesperson said: "This evidence (from) Public Health England, which states that e-cigarettes are 95pc less harmful to health than normal cigarettes, is welcome."
The UK research has shown that a problem with e-cigarettes is that many people have perceived 'vaping' as more harmful than cigarettes. Which, according to the PHE report, is not the case.
Vape Business Ireland is hoping that the Department of Health will take these suggestions on board before enacting the new legislation next year.
It said: "The Irish Department of Health is currently working towards regulating vaping products in Ireland and we would hope that this timely contribution by the a UK Health Department agency will assist our Department of Health in bringing forward balanced and evidenced-based regulation."