Speed up ban on e-cigarette sales to kids, doctors urge Government
Laws banning the sale of e-cigarettes to children must be speeded up as evidence emerges that more young people are taking up vaping, doctors have warned.
The next Budget also should impose a rise of at least €1 on the price of a traditional pack of 20 cigarettes, they say.
Last year's Budget opted for a 50c tax rise, pushing the cost of a packet of 20 cigarettes to €12.70.
The warnings are sounded in the pre-Budget submission of the Policy Group on Tobacco in the Royal College of Physicians.
Chairman Dr Des Cox said although vaping is regarded as less dangerous than smoking, the user is breathing in nicotine, which is addictive.
"Over the past few years, e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular among young people in many countries. Urgent action needs to be taken in order to prevent this phenomenon transposing to Ireland," he said. "Although e-cigarettes are considered to be less harmful than tobacco smoking, exposing young people to nicotine through the use of electronic cigarettes is a significant health concern."
The Government previously promised to ban to sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s but its progress has been slow despite concerns they are also a potential "gateway" to taking up tobacco smoking.
E-cigarettes are also promoted as a shortcut to quitting smoking and there needs to be research into their role in this area, the doctors stressed.
They added that the Budget must not just make buying cigarettes more expensive but it must also remove the price differential which makes roll-your-own products cheaper.
There has been a significant increase in roll- your-own use in the past decade.
However, the hand-rolled cigarettes contain as many toxins as traditional cigarettes