Around two thirds of the public want the Government to ban the sale of disposable electronic cigarettes, new research shows.
A survey carried out by the independent polling organisation Ipsos found that 64% of respondents support the banning of disposable e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, while only 28% opposed the measure and 8% were unsure.
The results are published ahead of the Government’s public consultation period on disposable e-vaping devices ending today (July 27).
Welcoming the Ipsos research, Mark Murphy, Advocacy Manager, Environmental Health and Tobacco, with the Irish Heart Foundation said it showed the public know disposable vapes are not only a health risk but also pose a threat to the environment.
He said only a comprehensive ban of all forms of disposable e-cigarettes could prevent “another generation of young people” from becoming nicotine addicts.
“In 2019, 18.1% of teens admitted to using vapes but this number will have soared since the introduction of disposable vapes,” he said.
Just over one thousand adults aged 15 and over took part in the Ipsos survey between July 3-15.
Of the 1,016 people questioned, 57% in the 15-24 age group supported a disposable vape ban, while half of the 24-35 cohort were in favour.
The majority of all other age groups who took part in the survey also agreed the sale of disposable vapes in Ireland should end.
In its submission to Government, the Irish Heart Foundation said a Health Research Board study showed that teenagers who use vapes are between three and five times more likely to start smoking than those who don’t.
A similar pattern was found by EU health researchers, the national stroke and heart charity said, who found that e-cigarettes were a gateway to smoking for young people.
Mr Murphy added that research carried out earlier this year by anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health revealed that 69% of the youngsters across the UK who vaped used disposable vapes – up from just 7.7% in 2021.
“A similar pattern could easily emerge in this country,” he said.
The charity’s submission also highlighted the risk to the environment from disposable vapes, which cannot be recycled and which contain plastic, copper and a lithium battery.
A clean-up operation on the River Bride, Co Cork, found 50 single-use discarded vapes in one afternoon, the foundation said.
“There is simply no place for disposable vapes in Ireland, and we need to ban them now,” Mr Murphy added.
“They are fuelling teenage vaping and nicotine addiction while damaging our planet.
“These single-use vapes are designed as fashionable, trendy lifestyle products which make them highly appealing to young people.
“Moreover, their sleek design makes them easy to hide from parents and teachers.
“Ireland led the way with its workplace smoking ban, but we are fast losing ground again in the fight against tobacco addiction.
“We simply cannot allow another generation of young people to become addicted to nicotine.”