The Institute of Public Health recently responded to a public consultation on Disposable Vaping Devices launched by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications in Ireland.
This consultation proposed a series of policy options to address the environmental impacts of disposable vaping devices, including:
- ban on the manufacture, sale, distribution or free offer of disposable vaping devices under the Waste Management Act, 1996, Section 28(4)(i)
- establish a deposit and return system for disposable vaping devices
- make no legislative change but improve the producer responsibility scheme to ensure all producers placing devices on the market are registered; ensure enforcement of EPR requirements is adequate; improve education and awareness around returning devices into the WEEE and battery collection schemes for responsible recycling
The Institute responded to this consultation in support of a total ban of the sale of disposable vaping devices, from both an environmental and a health perspective.
This position was based on:
- Evidence of environmental harms associated with disposable vapes including littering and leaching of toxic compounds into the environment, disposable vapes as a source of single-use plastics contributing to marine and land pollution, greenhouse gas emissions associated with production and explosion/fire risk;
- Evidence of poor compliance with existing regulations, with some disposable vaping devices exceeding permitted levels of nicotine content;
- E-cigarettes are not recognised as the most effective way of supporting people to stop smoking in Ireland and they have a largely untested safety profile, compared to the HSE approved package of care offered through QUIT.ie comprising medication and behavioural support
- Evidence demonstrating an association between e-cigarettes and initiation of cigarette smoking amongst non-smokers, nicotine addiction and certain health harms.