Joint Commitee on Health Report – More Harm than Good

Joint Commitee on Health Report on Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill 2019 – July 2022

The Irish Vape Vendors Association (IVVA) are extremely disappointed with the main content of Joint Committee on Health, Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products Report which was published on Friday, July 15. Speaking after the release of the report, IVVA Director, Declan Connolly stated that if transposed into law, that “proposed new regulations would do more harm than good, and will result in a delay of decades for Ireland to  reach Tobacco Free status”.

The main issue IVVA have with the report is the proposed ban on all eliquid flavourings apart from tobacco. IVVA met with Committee on Health back in February 2022, and in our opening statement [1] we explained why a “flavour ban” would be poor policy and would in fact be bad for public health. Unfortunately the committee do not seem to understand why eliquid flavours are of such importance to vapers who have already quit smoking by switching to vaping and why restricting flavours will lead to reduction in smokers making the switch to vaping.

Why Vaping / eLiquid Flavours Should Not Be Banned

The flawed reasoning as to why the Health Committee report recommend a flavour ban is twofold: (a) that flavours encourage youth to start vaping and (b) that these same youth will then move from vaping to smoking – the so called gateway effect.

Is Vaping a Gateway to Smoking

The claims about a gateway effect from vaping to smoking are based on a misunderstanding about correlation and causation. There is no dispute that young people who vape are also more likely to smoke, but that does not mean the vaping causes the smoking.

When vaping rose in popularity from 2015 to 2019, Ireland saw a sharp decline in smoking rates. However due to unfounded negative media reports and public health messaging in 2019 / 2020, the numbers vaping fell, and smoking rates increased. These statistics are published by Healthy Ireland reports 2019 & 2021

Flavoured Vaping Products

All vaping products are flavoured in some way. Tobacco flavours are just a different type of flavour and are added in the same way as any other. In Ireland 50% – 65% of the 200,000 users, vape either mint or fruit flavours. Banning all flavours other than tobacco will result in:

  • Some vapers will return to smoking. Smoking rate will increase as what was happened in San Franciso when such a flavour ban was introduced
  • Irish vapers will move their custom outside of Ireland, with subsequent loss of jobs and income to the exchequer.
  • A percentage of vapers will go down the DIY route to mix their own preferred non tobacco flavour, possibly using unregulated or untested ingredients not intended for vaping
  • An unregulated blackmarket will develop.
  • Some will take up smoking rather vaping.
  • A flavour ban will decimate the Independent Vaping Sector (with over 200 specialist shops and 1000 direct jobs), and hand over the business of vaping to Big Tobacco.
  • Further delay the implementation of over 18’s legislation, which should have been introduced years ago.

There are some positive measures and recommendations  in the Health Committee report. IVVA agree that vaping products should not be aimed at youth. The way to do achieve this is:

  • Immediately implement over 18’s legislation
  • Introduce responsible rules & regulation concerning marketing, advertising packaging and labelling.
  • Introduce licensing system for sale of vaping products and significant penalties for those who operate outside of the regulations.
  • Ban the sale of disposable ecigs, which apart from the fact are bad for the environment, but  these products alone are most easily accessed and used by those who are underage.


Link to Report –