Health Research Board Review in Direct Contrast to Available Evidence

It is with some surprise and disappointment that the Irish Vape Vendors Assocation (IVVA) read today’s Health Review Board (HRB) review into e-cigarette use, where they state that e-cigarettes are associated with adolescents starting to smoke tobacco cigarettes.

Speaking about the Health Research Board press release, Declan Connolly spokesperson and director of IVVA, says “the findings of the Health Research Board are in direct contrast to the available evidence. The latest Healthy Ireland Survey (2019) commissioned by Department of Health shows that prevalence of smoking has dropped from 23% in 2015 to 17% in 2019. In the same period use of e-cigarette has increased from 3% to 5%. And most importantly the Healthy Ireland 2019 Report shows that just 1% of e-cigarette users were non-smokers. ”

The Health Research Board state that three reports were used to inform this evidence review of e-cigarettes and IVVA have requested copies of same, so that we can try and understand the HRB conclusions.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland with almost 6,000 smokers dying each year from smoking related diseases. Smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer, causing one third of all cancers. There is never a situation where it is better to smoke than it is to vape, and we know since 2016 that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking, according to Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of Physicians.

Currently there are approximately 200,000 vapers (e-cigarette users) in the Ireland. The majority of these vapers, have given up smoking completely. The remaining are smoking signifcantly fewer cigarettes. 38% of those who made an attempt to quit smoking in Ireland in 2019 used e-cigarettes during this attempt. This should be encouraged.

99% of vapers in Ireland are either smokers or ex-smokers. “Never smokers” make up less than 1% of users. This demonstrates that non-smokers are not taking up vaping and the current regulations are working well.

Since the inception of the Irish Vape Vendors Association in 2014, we have been calling on  government to implement over 18’s legislation.

The Irish Vape Vendors Association (IVVA) is an association that represents independent retailers of vaping products in Ireland. We advocate for evidence based policy on these reduced risk products. Members of IVVA are not owned, nor are under the control of either Big Tobacco or Pharmaceutical companies.