Ulster Unionist Party Health spokesperson Roy Beggs has added his voice to NI Chest, Heart and Stroke Association’s call for e-cigarettes to be banned from sale to children and young people under 18.
Roy Beggs MLA said:
“Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and so I believe we in Northern Ireland should also be banning the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s. It is recognised that nicotine in any form has adverse health effects and therefore it is important that our young people do not become addicted whilst unaware of the risks involved.
“I believe Northern Ireland should follow the Westminster proposal to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s in England ,and by many schools in the US to ban it on their premises, in order to ensure that our young people are not taking up a habit which may unwittingly act as a stepping stone to the real thing.
“I would however recognise that for those who have been unable to kick their addiction to smoking using nicotine replacement therapy, e-cigarettes may be a sensible alternative. Nevertheless until there is sufficient evidence to suggest that they are safe and have no long term health implications I believe their sale and use should be banned for our under 18 year olds.
“Unfortunately because the vapour liquid contained within electronic cigarettes comes in a range of flavours from everything from chocolate to every type of fruit it inevitably may be seen as more attractive to young people than the traditional cigarette. Whilst it is likely that e-cigarettes are less damaging to health than smoking cigarettes with damaging levels of tar and other chemicals, as of yet there is little research into the effect of their long term use. Indeed because they are not regulated, the contents of e-cigarettes can often vary significantly with some even found to contain highly toxic chemicals.”