St. Paddy would be proud! The Irish Independent, reports that six to seven percent of Irish smokers have switched to electronic cigarettes, amounting to a total of 50,000 persons, numbers that are rapidly rising. Begorrah!
An Irish firm has created a new e-cig factory in Connemara, with support from a government-linked granting agency, Udaras na Gaeltachta. This would seem to bode well for the government's intentions as it makes plans for local implementation of tobacco directives from the EU.
The factory's production Director, Tony Geraghty, announced plans to export e-cigs all over Europe with guarantees of quality and full information about contents, as an alternative to Chinese-produced products. The factory has created 138 new jobs in the County Galway town. Ovale E-cigarettes, with a retail outlet in Dublin, also supplies other retailers and online customers, and has a plant in Limerick, where it plans to begin manufacturing e-liquid soon. "There has been a huge increase in people using [e-cigarettes]," says company spokesperson Alex Pescar. The Department of Health has announced plans to regulate the product, including a ban on sale to minors. Health Minister James Reilly "is currently reviewing the evidence on the potential harm and the potential benefits of e-cigarettes before deciding the best approach to their wider regulation," according to a department spokesperson.
The Health Department is currently entertaining a request for guidance from the nation's Advertising Standards Authority, "given the surge of queries from advertisers." The Irish Cancer Society has announced that it plans to wait for further research results before recommending e-cigs, but they have not made any moves to oppose them either.
Keith Buckley isn't waiting for anybody's approval, however. Two years ago, the happy Dubliner went from smoking cigarettes, two packs a day, to e-cigs – overnight! "I feel brilliant because there's no wheeziness in my chest any more, I don't smell like an ashtray and I can do exercise, go for a swim or whatever, whereas when you're smoking you just don't have the motivation to do that," says Buckley, who has also persuaded his sister and her husband to make the switch. Buckley has reduced his nicotine content, and he keeps his e-cigarette with him all the time. He estimates that he spends €300 annually on his vaping habit – broken down as €4 per week on liquid and about €84 on equipment each year. This compares with the €6,900 per annum that he estimates he would be spending if he were still smoking combustible cigarettes. Begorrah indeed!