A flavour ban on e-cigarettes could damage tobacco harm reduction and consumer choice, the Oireachtas health committee was told today.
Declan Connolly of the Irish Vape Vendors Association (UVVA) said e-liquid flavours are of” vital importance to vapers.”
" IVVA is deeply concerned by the negative effects a flavour ban could have on tobacco harm reduction and consumer choice. A survey carried out by the Independent European Vape Alliance (IEVA) in 2020 found that to nearly 65pc of vapers vaped fruit or sweet e-liquids on a daily basis.
"The main argument in favour of banning flavoured e-liquids is the potential risk of making vaping products more attractive to minors with child-friendly flavourings and packaging. The association between vaping flavours and subsequent smoking initiation is not substantiated by evidence."
He added: "We believe in protecting youth and that the most effective way of preventing youth consumption is by enforcing legal age control and strict advertising rules. IVVA respectfully calls on decision and policy makers to have a closer look at the potential consequences of such a ban."
He was speaking on the proposed Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill 2022 which aims to regulate e-cigarettes.
All vaping products are subject to 23pc VAT which goes to the Exchequer. Vaping products should not be subject to an additional “sin tax” - smokers who switch to vaping are in fact doing the most important thing they can do to improve their health by quitting smoking, he added.
Currently there are approximately 200,000 e-cigarette users in Ireland. The majority of these vapers, have given up smoking completely. 38pc of those who made an attempt to quit smoking in Ireland in 2019 used e-cigarettes during this attempt. "This should be encouraged," he added.
According to Euromonitor (2018) spend on e-cigarettes in Ireland was €70m.
He said the IVVA welcomes most aspects of this bill." In particular we welcome the proposed over 18’s legislation.
We also welcome the proposed new licensing scheme for retailers of vaping products, assuming that same will be proportionate. We believe that there is a level of responsibility for those who sell vaping products and that a fair licensing scheme will help to monitor and protect vape related sales."