A government minister today told MHKs that the island was not ‘sending the right message’ when it came to vaping.
Kate Lord-Brennan said it as she laid the Vaping Products Bill 2023.
Although the reading was not scheduled for this week’s sitting, it was brought forward after Ms Lord-Brennan, the Cabinet Office Minister, requested to do so to try to speed up the legislation.
The Vaping Products Bill is the first legislation on the matter, and would notably make the sales of vaping products to under 18s illegal and would see the introduction of regulations around manufacturing standards.
It would also prohibit the display, advertising, and promotion of vaping products in the course of a business that is not a wholesale premises or specialist vaping premises.
When introducing the Bill to the chamber Ms Lord-Brennan said: ‘This Bill addresses a gap in legislation on the island.
‘This means there is currently no legal prohibition to under 18s freely obtaining, using and becoming addicted to vaping products and e-cigarettes.
‘The island has been behind the times in terms of formal restriction on access to vapes and related kit for under 18s.
‘Understandably, this causes issues not only potentially on the health and behaviour of growing children and teens, but difficult issues for parents, schools and retailers and authorities who are without a legal basis either to deny or enforce.
‘The right message is not being sent.’
She said that the growing amount of evidence on the matter was concerning.
Rushen MHK Michelle Haywood who also worked on the Bill said: ‘In truth we don’t have a long- term dataset to know what the harms are likely to be for this relatively recent way of delivering a cocktail of molecules into the body.
She said that vaping can cause lung illness, asthma, high blood pressure and can damage the immune system, yet it is still to be determined as to what the impacts would be after 10 to 15 years of vaping.
Claire Christian, Douglas South MHK, was concerned after noting that there was a loophole in the UK’s legislation, which would mean that free samples could be given to under 18s.
Ms Lord-Brennan said that the department aimed to ensure that the legislation captured the point about free samples.
She said that this is captured in the definition which mentions the supply as well as sale of vaping products.
Mrs Christian also asked the minister why the prohibition of branding vapes appealing to children with sweets and bright colours was not being addressed in the bill.
Ms Lord-Brennan said that labelling would be something that could be dealt with under regulations.
After being questioned on whether there is legislation around vaping in cars with children, Ms Lord-Brennan said that wasn’t something that she had looked into, but encouraged members to put that forward as an amendment if they see it fit.
Garff MHK Daphne Caine was concerned about single-use plastic vapes, and whether there should be legislation preventing those products coming to the island.
Ms Lord-Brennan said that whilst the bill does not address that, there is the single-use plastic regulations, and discussions have already started between Public Health officials and the Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture to regulate the use of single-use vaping products.