4 February 2020 – A European Commission report released yesterday shows that Irish smokers are almost twice as likely as their European counterparts to use vaping to try to quit.
Respect Vapers – a grassroots organisation set up to represent Ireland’s 200,000 vapers – welcomed the publication of the Special Eurobarometer Report but is concerned with how Irish health authorities and the European Commission are still refusing to acknowledge the important role vaping plays for smokers looking to quit.
The Eurobarometer figures show that 21% of Irish people who quit smoking or tried to quit used vaping to do so (on par with nicotine replacement therapies which are state funded and advertised), compared to just 11% of those in the EU27 and the UK.
While Irish people are far more likely to vape than people in other countries, they are much less likely to smoke: with an 18% current smoking rate here compared to a Europe-wide average of 23%. Ireland now has the second highest percentage of people who previously smoked but who have now stopped.
The publication of the Eurobarometer came on the same day as the Commission launched their landmark ‘Beating Cancer Plan’ including proposals to subject vaping to the same rules as cigarettes, a strategy which the Respect Vapers spokesperson Joe Dunne has slammed.
“It is mind-boggling that on the very same day, the Commission launched a plan which would make it much harder and more expensive to vape. Not only are policymakers not examining their own evidence, they are doing the exact opposite of what it would suggest they should do,” Dunne said.
Dunne went on to point to how Department of Health statistics in Ireland have routinely been ignored as politicians rush to introduce new laws attacking vaping.
“According to the Department of Health’s Healthy Ireland findings, 41% of Irish people who successfully quit smoking used vaping, and Healthy Ireland 2019 showed there was a 30% increase in the number of ex-smokers using vaping.
“There are 200,000 vapers in Ireland,” Dunne said. “Respect Vapers is fighting for them, but as importantly, we are fighting for the 850,000 Irish smokers who need options like vaping to help them to quit.
“Vaping saves lives. If we are serious about beating cancer, it’s time for politicians to realise this and act accordingly,” Dunne concluded.
Notes to Editor
- The Eurobarometer report – and the fact sheets for Ireland and the other countries examined – can be accessed on the European Commission’s website here.
- Healthy Ireland 2018 showed that 41% of Irish people who successfully quit smoking during the previous year used vaping to do so (Healthy Ireland 2018).
- 51% of Ireland’s current smokers have never tried vaping (Healthy Ireland 2018).
- Healthy Ireland 2019 showed that the use of vaping among ex-smokers had risden 30% over the previous year, from 10% to 13% (Healthy Ireland 2019)
- 99% of vapers in Ireland aged 15+ are either current or former smokers (Healthy Ireland 2019).