What Exactly Does This Mean For The Vape Industry?
*PROPOSITION TO NEW GOVERNING BODY*
Irelands General Election (2020)
The Ireland General Election 2020 is going to have a significant impact on the e-cigarette industry in Ireland. As we already reported in our article about the National Ban on Flavoured E-liquids, the industry has seen an increased call for regulation. We at The Short Fill strongly agree that there should be regulations to every industry regardless of what the scope of the said industry is. In order to ensure that the regulations which get proposed and imposed on the industries are just – representatives of the regulatory bodies should obtain the necessary knowledge of the industry. In addition to that, they should establish a relationship with those involved in the industry in order to work hand in hand in ensuring the health and safety of consumers. Tomorrow’s General Election is said to be “a general election that looks set to shake up the country’s political landscape” (EuroNews,2020). Here is why we feel this could potentially shake up the e-cigarette industry.
Potential Change Towards E-cigarette Industry
Several political party representatives have already highlighted in their campaigns and debates that they are entirely against vaping. These representatives argue that the e-cigarette industry popped out of nowhere and has taken the world by storm. They are concerned about the limited research in relation to the long term health effects of vaping – arguing that there is minimal evidence which suggests that vaping is a healthier / safer alternative. In addition to that, the accusation that the e-cigarette industry has contributed towards the addiction of nicotine towards the younger generation (individuals below the age of 18+). Based on a manifesto proposed by The Irish Vape Vendors Association ( IVVA ) – we think it would be healthier if the next government were to look at and take up some of the suggestions proposed. We elaborate further below on why they should highly consider these 5 key suggestions as this will help them better regulate the e-cigarette industry while ensuring that vendors do not have their hands tied. This will allow them to tackle whatever concerns they have about the already booming e-cigarette industry.
Manifesto to the next government
On the 22nd of January, The Irish Vape Vendors Association ( IVVA ) released a General Election Manifesto (2020).
“The Irish Vape Vendors Association (IVVA) is an association that represents retailers of vaping products in Ireland who all share common goals.
We advocate for evidence-based policy on these reduced-risk products, and represent the interests of independent e-retail and retail companies.” (IVVA,2020)
In the manifesto, the IVVA proposes five key suggestions to the next government. These suggestions are to better improve the relationship between vendors/manufacturers and distributors in Ireland with the government. Thus creating the opportunity for the next ruling government to get some insight regarding the e-cigarette industry. Here are the 5 key suggestions put forward by the IVVA in the GE 2020 manifesto:
1.Engage with the independent industry & consumers
- In relation to this suggestion, it has been made rather clear to industry players that the government has little to no knowledge of the actual industry as a whole. An example of this scenario would be the repeated implication that the e-cigarette industry is targeting and fueling the epidemic of nicotine addiction in the younger generation. If representatives gave a bit more attention to the industry they would be aware that the sale of vaping products is strictly prohibited to users below the age of 18. They would also learn that most consumers or users of e-cigarette products are ex-smokers who have used vaping as an alternative form of getting their fix of nicotine.
It is imperative that the regulators and government ministers who claim that the industry is “cynical for targeting kids” should spend a lot more time learning about the industry before they begin to try and regulate it. They could do so by engaging with consumers and business owners in the industry to allow us to shed some light on the industry.
2.Provide smokers with accurate information & promote vaping as a safer alternative to smoking
- This is another challenge which the e-cigarette industry faces globally. With minimal support from the appropriate health authorities about vaping is the healthier alternative for smokers who would like to give up smoking. Every smoker or ex-smoker is aware of how difficult it is to give up smoking. The first few weeks are always the hardest on individuals who opt to go cold turkey and give up regular combustible tobacco. It is during these first few weeks that individuals may or may not go through extreme withdrawal symptoms. Which is why vaping allows users to still get their nicotine fix and not having to consume all the other harmful chemicals which come along with smoking regular tobacco. To date, there has been minimal backing from health authorities to support the healthier alternative which vaping provides. As highlighted by the NHS UK, vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. The full report of the findings can be viewed here.
It is important that the industry which has proven to be a successful aid for smokers to give up smoking should be recognised and be backed by the right health authorities. This helps instil trust in users and consumers who wish to use vaping as a healthier alternative to give up smoking regular combustible tobacco. We at The Short Fill urge the respective health authorities in Ireland to give some support towards the industry once they have carried out the necessary research which they deem fit in order to class vaping as the healthier alternative than smoking.
3.Adult choice of E-liquid flavours are important and must not be restricted
- Adults should be given the choice and power to choose if they want to use/vape flavoured e-liquids. The reason for this suggestion is due to the increase talks of regulations to ban flavoured e-liquids in Ireland. Such regulations should not be imposed as it could cause several repercussions in terms of what has already been achieved in the e-cigarette industry. A lot of times new users tend to start vaping with flavoured e-liquids and this is backed by one huge factor which is users are trying to desensitise their taste buds to the taste of regular tobacco flavour. A lot of times smokers have built a liking towards the taste of regular combustible tobacco flavour which means if they are able to immunise themselves from that flavour the likelihood of them relapsing and smoking regular combustible tobacco again is minimal due to their newfound dislike towards the taste of tobacco. From personal experience, we have found that this method is the most effective method in helping a user to fully stay away from smoking regular tobacco ever again.
This is a very important process in assisting consumers to completely eliminate the chances of them reverting to smoking regular combustible tobacco. We strongly urge the respective authorities to respect this process and find an alternative measure to take in order to properly tackle the issue of packaging and labelling ‘being’ appealing to kids. There are much better alternatives which could be implemented in order to deal with this issue.
4.Under 18’s legislation to be made a priority
- Though this is a practice which is followed by every vendor in Ireland this is legislation which has been proposed to the last two governments but no action has yet to be taken regarding this. You will notice that this is a practice which is followed when it comes to the sale of regular tobacco and alcohol as this is a law which vendors have to follow. Unfortunately, this is not legislation which has been imposed onto the E-cigarette industry even though it has been proposed several times in the past.
This proposal should be taken very seriously and be regulated as soon as possible. To ensure that vendors are held responsible to uphold a civic responsibility to society in preventing the addiction towards nicotine of the younger generation. Even though almost every player in the industry may abide by this rule of thumb to not sell to individuals under the legal age, there will always be that one ‘cowboy’ who will look at that as an opportunity to make a quick buck. Therefore they should be held accountable for their actions and not jeopardise the moral ethics of the entire industry.
5. Tax/Excise Tax
- As it already stands, e-cigarette products are subject to 23% VAT (Value-Added Tax). The Irish Vape Vendors Association had highlighted that there seems to be increasing pressure from some EU Member states which would like to introduce an “EU-wide excise regime for vape products”(IrishVapeVendorsAssociation, 202, p.g.6). We strongly urge the next government to not enforce this tax. This will remove another key element which makes vaping the more preferable alternative for users. With the enforcement of this tax, it will significantly increase the pricing of using E-cigarettes. The price factor of E-cigarettes has been one key incentive for users to make the change. By eliminating this factor it consumers would less than likely see the added benefit of switching to vaping
We think this should not be imposed onto the industry. As mentioned that this is an added benefit for users to make the switch, we feel that it is imperative that this ideology of imposing additional tax towards E-cigarette products is not going to help users to make the switch to vaping. In our opinion by doing so, will be to take 5 steps back from whatever progress that the industry has made over the years.
Some Quotes From This Years Candidates On Vaping
A common pattern in the formation of arguments is visible among all the individuals quoted below. The main concern that flavoured E-liquids is predominantly marketed and produced to entice the younger generation into vaping. Let’s talk about the advertising of E-cigarettes in Ireland in comparison to other countries i.e America. In Ireland, most vendors/manufacturers and distributors do abide by a certain set of guidelines in relation to advertising. Most advertising on social media platforms follows the Advertising Standard Authorities of Ireland (ASAI) guidelines. The 7th Edition of the Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland came into effect on 1st March 2016. Under Section 17 of the ASAI code 7th Edition, it highlights the codes for advertising e-cigarette related products. To imply that the e-cigarette industry is advertising with no regulations in place is a false claim and should be revisited. It is safe to say that regulators need to get to know the industry before trying to regulate it. As passed efforts to work together with the government have failed the industries Irish Vape Vendors Association Ireland (IVVA) have called for the new ruling party to get to know the industry and propose a healthy working relationship to better improve the industry as opposed to directly drop the ban hammer as they seem fit without any internal knowledge of the industry.
It is baffling that the ministers who claim that the industry needs to be regulated are clearly unaware that there have been regulations in place since 2016. You may present the argument that the industry is constantly changing and requires statutory bylines which manufacturers/distributors or and vendors are required to abide too.