A Northern Ireland council has given its support to banning disposable vapes as elected reps say they are being “targeted to children” like “banana milkshakes”.
Newry, Mourne and Down Disrict Council (NMDDC) approved a consultation response this week to the UK government seeking to create a smoke-free generation in the youth.
Evidence of underage children being sold vapes and the branding of the products towards the young was highlighted in chambers.
Mournes Sinn Fein rep, Michael Rice, NMDDC’s youngest ever former chairperson at the age of just 22, previously raised his concerns in council, saying: “Vapes being sold to school children has been an issue that has been increasingly raised to me from concerned parents.
“Children as young as 13 or 14 have been gaining access to these products too easily.”
He added: “I had previously brought forward a motion to the council regarding my concerns on the sale of disposable vapes
“The cynic in me believes that these vape products are presented as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, but with the targeting of young people and the advertising and the ease of access to these products, it feels rather counter productive
“I look forward to hearing the feedback from the British government on this consultation.”
A council report stated that the Department of Health and Social Care published a paper in October, showing that over 21% of 11 to 16 year olds in Northern Ireland reported ever using an e-cigarette.
The report also shows that the number of young people vaping in Great Britain hads tripled in the last three years.
The Westminster government is due to compile a paper that will look to ban disposable vapes, which on average are sold at £6 compared to reusable vape kits at £40.
Fellow Mournes councillor, Jill Truesdale (Alliance) added: “There is a recently published article from the YMCA Youth Council, from the youth, so we have it directly from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
“It says, no matter how much control there is people will always find a way to gain access to them (vapes).
“Another person in the article, said that they think there should be more resources for people who are addicted to these things.
“They noticed the difference in marketing as cigarettes have to have strict health warnings, but they don’t see the same on vapes.
“Vapes are appealing if you think of the colours and the flavours.
“On cigarettes they have ‘smoking kills’ but on vapes they have things like ‘bananna milkshake’, so the young people are on to this, they know they are being targeted.
“This is a crucial motion to get through council.”