We Need to Have a Discussion About Using E-Cigarettes to Help People Quit Smoking

I have called for e-cigarettes to be used as part of the approach to tackling smoking rates in Ireland.

I believe that if we are to make progress and achieve a Tobacco Free Ireland we must examine approaches that are proving effective in other countries.

One such example of this is the UK, which has seen a significantly bigger drop in smoking rates than here at home, as a result of using e-cigarettes as a quitting tool. Public Health England has adopted e-cigarettes as a quitting tool and has seen smoking rates fall below 15% while Ireland has struggled to reduce the smoking rate significantly.

We know nicotine is an addictive substance but we need to examine whether Electronic Vaporisers can play a role in moving people off tobacco. The use of e-cigarettes and vapes removes the worst effects of smoking, namely through the burning of tobacco which leads to the most significant illnesses.

The evidence from both Public Health England, The UK Parliamentary Committee on Science and Technology and Cancer Research UK show that the use of e-cigarettes the less destructive alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes.

We are currently on track to miss our smoke free deadlines in Ireland and I believe that we can correct this course by potentially incorporating e-cigarettes in our policies.

In an ideal world none of these products would be necessary, however, we must recognize the challenges in front of us and do everything we can to tackle smoking. Accordingly I have written to relevant actors in Ireland voicing my concern at the slow reduction in smoking and the potential benefits of adopting e-cigarettes as a quitting tool.

We all know the harms of smoking and the damage it has caused to countless individuals and their families. We need to do everything we can to prevent these scenarios repeating themselves.

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