Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke has welcomed the publication of a Northern Ireland Audit Office report entitled ‘Tackling the public health impacts of smoking and vaping’.
Public Affairs and Policy Manager, Neil Johnston commented:
“This is a very comprehensive report both in terms of its observations and its recommendations.”
“We would particularly endorse the call for the registration of shops selling vapes. Everyone selling tobacco in Northern Ireland is registered. This enables council officials to know who is authorised to sell and retailers know that if they break the law they could be removed from the register.”
“Currently, there is effectively a ‘free-for-all’ with anyone free to sell vapes and little effective sanction if they break rules – and council officials are struggling to maintain a grip on the subject.”
“We need increased resources for enforcement action and a register as a matter of urgency. Vaping amongst young people under 18 has increased markedly and we need to take action to protect children’s health.”
“Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke is urging all Assembly Members to back the registration of vaping shops and to back legislation to bring this in as soon as an Executive and Assembly are restored.”
The report also called for the Public Health Agency to consider spending more of its budget on prevention, supported by enhanced enforcement of tobacco and vaping regulations.
“Media and publicity campaigns have been shown to have impacted strongly on smokers, in terms of recognition and behavioural influence. Renewed efforts to persuade people not to take up smoking, and new campaigns urging people not to take up vaping, are needed.”