University of Limerick President Dr Des Fitzgerald has called on the Minister for Education and Skills to take direct action to ensure that vaping (the use of electronic cigarettes) is banned on all university campuses and other education institutions across the country as a matter of urgency.
The University of Limerick instituted a ban on vaping and smoking in 2018. The UL campus is currently the only campus in the country to have such a ban.
Dr. Fitzgerald, who is a Professor of Molecular Medicine and a former Chief Academic Officer of the Ireland East Hospital Group, said that vaping was now an urgent health risk for students in particular, many of whom have been led to believe that it was a healthier option than traditional cigarette smoking.
Dr. Fitzgerald said: “Vaping is a real health risk and is now being directly implicated in health crises and even death amongst users. We can see by the introduction of flavoured vaping products and other marketing initiatives that big business is now aggressively pushing this product to young people in particular and we should waste no time in mounting a robust challenge to these forces and that begins with a ban.”
Dr. Fitzgerald said that the Government should not wait for Universities to take their own action.
“The Minister for Education and Skills should immediately institute a ban on vaping and smoking in any institution which is in receipt of Exchequer funds,” he said.
In recent weeks, the States of New York and Michigan have introduced bans on flavoured vaping products. US Senator Mitt Romney has published legislation to ban flavoured vaping products and to apply cigarette taxes to vaping devices and India has announced a ban on the production, import and sale of electronic cigarettes on the basis that they pose a risk to health.