The apparent social acceptability of e-cigarettes in Ireland has been warned against by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

The HIQA is an independent authority that exists to improve health and social care services for the people of Ireland and they have recently expressed concern over e-cigarettes by explaining that ‘evidence on their success in helping smokers to quit was promising, but cautioned that people who have never smoked may be encouraged to take up vaping.’

The HIQA’s worry is that:

“If e-cigarette use becomes socially acceptable, it could lead to new use of nicotine by people who have never smoked before, later migration to tobacco cigarettes, long-term nicotine dependency, and other potential as-yet unknown harms.”

These claims from HIQA seem unfair towards vaping as they don’t include any hard evidence or figures. Also, the reasons as to why an increase in social acceptability of e-cigarettes would be a negative are also not backed up credibly.

Are non-smokers in Ireland actually taking up vaping?

Alan Buckley, spokesman for Vape Business Ireland dismissed HIQA’s claim about the danger that non-smokers could take up vaping by saying:

“The 2015 Healthy Ireland Survey shows that 99.9 per cent of vapers are ex-smokers, so we remain unclear where this concern comes from as the report does not in itself provide any research or even anecdotal evidence to back this up.”

So with a lack of evidence to back up HIQA’s claims we have to ask the question why are HIQA concerned so much that they are calling for officials to ‘await the results of trials on e-cigarettes before recommending them for smokers seeking to quit’ and going on to say:

“A decision to advocate e-cigarette use should take into consideration any additional information on the long-term safety of e-cigarette use, and any emerging data in relation to concerns about the social normalisation of e-cigarettes leading to increased uptake among people who have never smoked, or later migration to tobacco cigarettes.”?

Do you think e-cigarettes are becoming more socially acceptable and is this an issue? Let us know in the comments below.

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