A decline in the numbers of children smoking is extremely encouraging, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator James Reilly was speaking following the publication of the Health Behaviours in School-aged Children (HBSC) 2018 Study, an international study with the Irish component carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway.
The Fingal Senator said, “The data gathered by researchers in NUI Galway is extremely encouraging in terms of the reduction in the number of youngsters aged 10 to 17 who have tried smoking.
“The study found that 11pc of children surveyed had tried smoking – 5pc fewer than 2014. This is extremely encouraging as we continue to work towards lowering the uptake rate even further.
“However, the data released today points to a worrying trend in relation to vaping among our young people.
“According to the research of the 15,500 young people surveyed 22pc reported trying e-cigarettes.
“The tobacco industry is working very hard to get people hooked on vaping and we must not allow vaping to become a proxy for smoking or, indeed a gateway to smoking.
“I am delighted that the Government will publish legislation that will outlaw the sale of vaping and related products to under 18-year-olds this year and has committed to introducing measures to combat the increase in vaping among youngsters.
“I have advocated for the banning of flavoured vaping products here in Ireland. The evidence suggests that companies are deliberately targeting children and young people with various flavours which are marketed with catchy names and bright colours.
“This cynical ploy by the tobacco industry is in my view clearly designed to target children and must not go unchecked.
“This is an area that needs urgent attention,” Senator Reilly concluded.