Members of Respect Vapers have called into question the findings of E-Cigarette-Only and Dual Use among Adolescents in Ireland: Emerging Behaviours with Different Risk Profiles by Dr Andrea Bowe, as it contains a number of inaccurate statements. They are concerned about being portrayed as people who vape to start smoking, when in fact they vape to quit.
Mr Joe Dunne, of Respect Vapers – a grassroots organisation set up to represent Ireland’s 200,000 vapers- said that the EU Eurobarometer, published last week, shows 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 11% of those in the Member States and UK.
“Our members do not vape to start smoking tobacco. They do so to quit. Also, national research shows that smoking rates dropped in 15-17 year olds in Ireland by 8% in the past 6 years. Despite Dr Bowe’s assumptions, vaping is not tobacco smoking. Vaping products do not have any tobacco content and, like the Government-funded gums, patches and spays, they include small amounts of nicotine,” he explained.
Joe Dunne points out that the production and marketing of vaping products are strictly regulated in Ireland since 2016. He rejects the survey author’s assumption that flavours in vaping are solely to attract young people.
“Our members, the majority of whom are vaping to quit smoking say that flavours help as they develop an aversion to the taste and smell of tobacco. It does not encourage young people to start smoking. If you want to stop young people vaping, then the Government must ban the sale of vaping to under 18s, which we have consistently asked of the Government.”
Respect Vapers is also concerned about the inaccurate assumptions that nicotine causes cancer. Leading experts have carried out extensive tests over the years and show that nicotine is not a carcinogen substance.
“Leading public health expert Professor Lion Shihab, in his address to Respect Vapers members, clearly demonstrated that nicotine is not cancer-causing, particularly the amounts used in the regulated products in Europe. Nicotine has minimal, if any, adverse effects and is not associated with disease or illness from smoking. People do not die from nicotine, they die from the tar and the burning of tobacco in cigarettes,” he said.
A European Commission’s 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 11% of those in the members states and UK. The Eurobarometer also shows, that Irish smokers are almost twice as likely as their European counterparts to use vaping to try to quit smoking.
Respect Vapers say that Ireland now has the second highest percentage of people who previously smoked but who have now stopped. “The survey showed that there was an 18% current smoking rate in Ireland compared to a Europe-wide average of 23%,” Joe said.