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It’s been a while since we’ve seen any laws on Vaping introduced in a country. Most notably, Australia and the USA have taken the front seat for bringing in laws on Vaping which have shown to be relatively counter productive and more of a hinderance than a help to the cause.
However, Ireland have introduced their new laws on Vaping, and to me, it looks like they’ve nailed it especially with opting to not introduce a flavour ban like what was being whispered about not so long back.
In this blog, I’m going to take a look at these new laws and what they entail, why opting to not ban flavours is for the best and also take a look at the ongoing consultation they have regarding Disposable Vapes. Let’s get into it!
The Creation Of The Legislation
I’ve previously wrote an article on the subject of Ireland and Vaping, and how there seems to be quite a severe lack of support for Vaping as a smoking cessation and backing smokers to consider using an E-Cigarette to quit smoking when compared to what it is here in England. The difference of opinions and views are quite different and it did baffle me as to why it was so different.
Back in November of last year (2022) Health Minster for Ireland Stephen Donnelly set out to get Cabinet approval on his legislation to ban the sale of “nicotine inhaling products” to anyone under the age of 18 as early as the start of the new year. This also included heavily limiting the amount of places where advertisements for E-Cigarettes would be allowed, as well as restricting the retailers who were allowed to sell E-Cigarettes and associated items.
Of course the main thing that sparked this legislation being formulated to be put into action was the sudden surge in popularity of Disposable Vapes and how they are “so appealing” to younger people who were not of legal age to use nicotine containing products. And the primary focus was on the amount of flavours available on the market, with reference to the slightly farfetched claim from the World Health Organisation that there is over “16,000 different vape flavours on the market”
And this then lead to another classic belief being spoken is that flavoured vapes can act as a gateway to users then turning to smoking cigarettes as they will be craving a bigger nicotine hit from the real thing. Now, I don’t know about you, but using a flavoured vape certainly wouldn’t put me onto cigarettes as I got off cigarettes and onto E-Cigarettes because of the flavours, not the other way round!
This then sparked the desire to have vape flavours banned in the country of Ireland and it being included in this legislation should it come to pass. This started causing concern amongst current vapers in the country of Ireland potentially losing their access to flavoured vape juice that they rely on to keep them away from smoking. But thankfully…the flavour ban is NOT part of this legislation that has been enforced, a win for the flavour lovers!
Flavour Ban’s Are Not The Answer
Let’s go on a bit of a jet set trip around the world, and take a look at countries that have recently enacted a flavour ban when it comes to vape juice and see if it’s really helped the situation like what they expected it to.
Got to start with Australia and the absolute fiasco that’s happening there when it comes to Vaping! In 2021, their Government announced that nicotine containing vape juice would be BANNED from general sale, and the only possible way it would be obtainable would be for people to go to their GP and gain a valid prescription that they could then take to a local pharmacy and exchange it for nicotine vape juice. Sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it? WRONG.
A year passed from when this law was bought in and an independent review was done on it, which you can read about in a separate article I’ve written, and it showed that this new process was failing and quite miserably too. It showed that an embarrassing 1% of GP’s in Australia actually had the ability to issue these prescriptions to people in need of them. This was because a large majority didn’t undergo the training required as they were concerned with the consequences which could follow should they get anything wrong.
So what would be the right thing to do here? Well, whatever it is, Australia then done the polar opposite and earlier this year announced that a complete BAN on flavoured E-Liquid was coming and basically spelt the end of recreational vaping as the patrons of Australia knew it.
To show just how counter productive these legislations being introduced are, the black market sales of Disposable Vapes in Australia absolutely sky rocketed from the word go of the ban being enforced. Everyone was getting in on the action selling them, from petrol stations to convenience stores and even Uber drivers selling them to their passengers, and most of the time not even caring to consider an age verification check in the process. Not really what they expected to happen when enforcing this I doubt!
United States of America
Now it isn’t quite as bad in America as what it is in Australia, but still it’s worth mentioning. Some states within the USA have enforced flavour bans when it comes to vape juice, with the only “flavours” being permitted for sale as Tobacco or Menthol. This is because of the JUUL epidemic that happened in the late ’10s where youngsters were clutching to get their hands on flavoured JUUL pods to join in the craze that was sweeping across the nation.
Most recently, the state of California came into the spotlight, where an actual state wide vote happened entitled Proposition 31, again I’ve written a whole article dedicated to this so check it out when you’re done here!
The outcome was to ban the sale and production of vape flavours in the state of California, and this caused huge uproar to the vapers of California, who heavily rely on using vape flavours to keep them away from going back to cigarettes, and many admitted this would be what they would do if their access was restricted, but also a large volume said they would resort to “black market tactics” or just simply travel to a neighbouring state and stock up as flavours aren’t banned there…clever!
So this is just two examples of countries that have banned flavoured vape juice and two perfect examples of how they do not work at all and are not the answer. Some other countries have also started introducing these bans a bit closer to home, such as Netherlands, and it was speculated that this would in turn encourage Ireland to follow suit and bring it in as well, but thankfully doesn’t look like it’s happening…yet.
Ireland Opts Against Flavour Ban
So to take a look at the official legislation that has passed, and to quote from the press release that was published at the start of June;
“The Bill will:
- prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products to anyone under 18 years
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products at events for children
- prohibit the self-service sale of tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products
- introduce a strict licensing system for the retail sale of tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products
- prohibit the advertising of nicotine inhaling products around schools and on public transport
- provide additional enforcement powers to the Environmental Health Service for measures in the Bill and for all previous Tobacco Control Acts”
So pretty strict and straight forward laws being introduced I think you’ll agree, but what was glaringly obvious that was not included was a ban of flavoured vape juice as previously anticipated it would be, which is a huge positive step forward alongside all of these new legislations as well.
Ireland going ahead with the potential introduction of a licensing system is huge as well, as this has been whispered about being bought into force here in the UK, and I think it’s a good thing that this would be bought in, as it would prevent the sales of counterfeit vaping products at shops that are not legitimate and reputable vape shops.
There’s been chatter that this would be counterproductive for businesses who may not be able to afford a licence to sell, but if they’re a dedicated vape shop, it should come with no hesitation that this is something they would opt for as it cements their place and authority also within the trade.
But it’s not all said and done when it comes to vaping in Ireland as it stands, as there’s still a public consultation going on surrounding a subject we are all very familiar with by now…
Are Disposables Going To Get The Chop?
Yes, you guessed it, it’s all to do with Disposable Vapes! The Department of Environment for Ireland launched a public consultation on the topic of Disposable Vapes and the harm they are causing to the environment with them littering the streets as well as millions upon millions being put into landfill every week. And in this consultation, they’ve offered three solutions;
- Total Ban
- A Deposit And Return Scheme
- Improve Producer Responsibility and Public Awareness
3 totally valid options, as well as being also very different as well covering all areas of the spectrum and giving fair options as well as potentially slight overkill to.
A total ban on Disposables wouldn’t be a bad thing I suppose, as they are becoming somewhat of a menace to the vaping industry, and also causing some serious harm to the environment. But they do provide a good gateway for people who may want to experiment and see if Vaping is for them, as they’re cheap and ready to go with minimal fuss and faffing about. But in my opinion, the negatives of them greatly out weigh what little positives there are.
The deposit and return scheme is something that intrigues me, and just reminds me of when you go to a festival or something and have to put a deposit down for a plastic cup if you want a drink, and then you get your money back on return of it. Seems like it’s a bit farfetched and wouldn’t quite work when it comes to Disposable Vapes, but the idea is cool!
Option 3 is what I’m heavily leaning towards here and what seems to the most logical and sensible approach. More could definitely be done by manufacturers when it comes to offering things like a return to dispose, or recycling service. Some brands are actually doing this now which is good to see, but there’s still a large gap that can be filled by other manufacturers offering a similar service.
Public Awareness being heightened would never be a bad thing either, as there’s likely still a huge volume of users out there today that do not know they cannot be put in the recycling bin even though they’re made out of plastic, due to the fact they contain a lithium-ion battery. Don’t get me wrong, the awareness is being heightened but largely due to the fact that the facts are being stuck into negative press articles, and the information isn’t always true either leading people to think different to what is actually the truth.
More can be done by vape manufacturers and also the government to create a bigger public awareness over the disposal of these devices, and with the information coming from reputable sources it would in turn hopefully squash down the amount of rubbish being published that’s full to the brim of misinformation and people are sadly taking it as gospel.
And now we reach the conclusion of this article, and I hope this has been informative for you to learn exactly what is happening with Ireland and Vaping.
The moves that Ireland are making seem logical and they are moves I can get behind as a vaping advocate. They’re not over the top, they remain fair throughout and have the best interests of people at the forefront, and not punishing existing vapers by bringing in something harsh like a flavour ban.
I’m intrigued to see what happens in regards to the potential banning of Disposable Vapes, as this is something that has been heavily pushed here in England, so it does make me wonder if a country so close by to us enacts a banning policy, how long would it be before we then followed suit? I’ll be sure to keep a keen eye on this and report back with any changes or updates to it once the public consultation period ends.