Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health

General Scheme of the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill 2019: Department of Health

Photo of Thomas GouldThomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

On that point, could we make the flavours available by prescription only? That would introduce regulation. At the moment, a person who is under 18 can go into a shop and buy bubblegum flavoured e-cigarettes. This law, which we support, will ban e-cigarettes for those under 18. However, an 18-year-old or a 19-year-old will still be able to buy bubblegum or candy flavoured e-cigarettes. That is not right. Perhaps prescriptions should be considered. I have friends who are off cigarettes and who are successfully using e-cigarettes instead so I acknowledge what Ms Gordon is saying. I know people who have said that has made a profound difference in their lives. That is welcome but the problem is that we now see more young people using e-cigarettes. Unfortunately, we are also seeing more young people using cigarettes again. A multifaceted approach is needed. We should certainly highlight in Europe how many people smoke cigarettes in television programmes and films relative to the number of people who smoke. There should be some kind of restriction on that. We should also make flavours available by prescription only so that those who need them and who are over 18 can get them while young people are protected. That would accomplish what the Department is trying to do, which is to support people who are in addiction while preventing young people from getting on nicotine. I was out with my wife at the weekend. Every time I have a drink, I feel I want a cigarette because, growing up, that is the way my life was. I still have pangs and want to smoke. I am very lucky - touch wood - but many others out there are not. If we can prevent what happened to me and many other people of my generation happening again, we will support that. I hope the witnesses can take that on board.


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