Shockingl figures reveal that 1 in 3 young people between the ages of 13 and 16 currently vape according to data from a Foróige Sligo study
The Aontú Rep for Dún Laoghaire Mairead Tóibín, has said she is deeply concerned by these figures. This trend was discussed in depth at the recent Aontú Ard Fheis, where three motions on limiting the availability and accessibility of vaping were passed. Aontú party policy will now push the government to enact health legislation as right now it is legal for children to buy these products.
Speaking today Ms Tóibín said: “How has the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, allowed a highly addictive product to become so common and unregulated that children can legally buy the product, so common that 1 in 3 children aged 13 to 16 are currently vaping? How has the government failed to act and allowed the usage rate to get so high without acting in a faster manner. We also need to find out conclusively if young people are buying the products themselves or are older people purchasing them and passing them on?”
“Unfortunately, young people today see vaping as cool, they are not using E-cigs to stop smoking as the product was originally intended. The study has shown that the level of awareness around the dangers of nicotine is very high, the majority stated they would never smoke but would vape. This shows that education on negative connotations of smoking is working, the same education and awareness needs to be applied to vaping.”
Respondents to the survey claimed that they felt connected among their peers while vaping and that it facilitated a sense of social cohesion. These are similar characteristics and traits that had previously been associated with smoking.
Mairéad Tóibín: “Vaping is less dirty than cigarette smoking, they can be used inside, they are colourful and more attractive to look at and be around, no wonder teenagers are not put off by the habit. You don’t have to physically get up or leave the house or pub to go outside to the cold, wind and rain, the habit can be satisfied while sitting down in comfort, the hit comes in sweet flavours with no pungent after taste and smell.
“The biggest misunderstanding about vapes is that they are harmless compared to cigarettes. This is not true, and this message needs to change to prevent more young people from taking up and getting addicted to vaping because they think they are risk free. The long-term health implications are unknown – just as they once were with tobacco.
“We need an immediate launch of a vaping awareness campaign in response to the misunderstandings around the potential health risks associated with vaping and the huge increase in the number of teenagers using vapes. We need a move to plain packaging, the ending of the sale of disposable vapes, and legislation to prevent their sale to under 18s,” concluded Ms Tóibín.
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