E-Cigarettes will now be banned from all health service facilities.

Photo Caption: Flickr.com/Lindsay Fox

Photo Caption: Flickr.com/Lindsay Fox

The HSE have announced this morning that they are to ban the use ad sale of electronic cigarettes in public health services by May 1st.

At present, E-Cigarettes are not covered by the ban on smoking in the work place, and have gone unregulated since their introduction to the US Market in 2007. However, after the HSE conducted a review of the safety of E-Cigarettes and their impact on its smoke-free campus policy, they have decided to go ahead and ban their use in public health services.

The HSE is currently aiming to make sure all of its facilities are smoke-free by 2015.

The HSE’s National Director for Health and Well Being, Stephanie O’Keefe, appeared on RTE’s Morning Ireland and spoke about the decision to ban the use and sale of electronic cigarettes.

“There is currently no evidence that e-cigarettes are safe for long-term use, or are effective as a smoking cessation aid.

“While we will be keeping this emerging evidence under review, the e-cigarettes ban is being introduced now because they pose a challenge to smoke-free campus enforcement and come with safety concerns for a healthcare environment.’

The HSE are also concerned that the use of E-Cigarettes in public places could result in the re-normalisation of smoking cigarettes, as they resemble the real thing.

There is also safety concerns regarding children’s exposure to the products.

At present, there is no clinical trial which has proved they are effective as a smoking cessation device, and it has not yet been proven if they are safe to use.

E-Cigarettes, for many people across the world have been seen as the best alternative to quitting smoking. Supporters of the product claim that they are responsible for saving many lives, however, some campaigners fear that they their use in public places only aids to normalise smoking.

Many smokers who have tried and failed patches, gum or going ‘cold turkey’ said that electronic cigarettes are a major help when it comes to cutting cigarettes out. The fact that they look and feel like a real cigarette gives a far better ‘smoking experience’ for those trying to quit, however, it is essentially just replacing a habit with a habit.

There is little known about the health risks regarding E-Cigarettes. Within the cigarette, there is a mechanism which heats up the nicotine, allowing it to become a vapour that can then be inhaled. Because they don’t contain tobacco, they are not subjected to the same laws as real cigarettes. Many campaigners have asked for E-Cigarettes to be banned until proper research is carried out regarding their safety.

Although there aren’t nearly as many of the 7’000 chemicals found in e-cigarettes as there are in ordinary cigarettes, they are not without their hazards. Nicotine is the substance which people become addicted to in cigarettes, so until users know if it is safe to use them, taking them up as an alternative to quitting smoking is questionable.

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