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Independent retailers in Ireland have condemned calls for an outright ban on vaping flavours as unjustified after the issue came into the spotlight at a committee hearing.

As well as proposing a ban on sales of tobacco and vaping products to anyone aged under 21, health campaigners want to see a total ban on flavoured vapes.

Professor Des Cox, chair of the Royal College of Physicians Ireland policy group on tobacco, has also called for vaping products to be sold in plain packaging similar to that for tobacco.

Prof Cox claimed that it was “more likely to initiate nicotine-inhaled products use through flavoured products relative to other age groups.”

He added: “While adults may also enjoy flavours, the risks of nicotine-inhaled products initiation in adolescents and young adults outweigh the benefits of ex-smokers using flavoured products.”

John Dunne, of Vape Business Ireland, insists that the views of health bodies in Ireland go against those of similar groups in the UK and New Zealand. He highlighted that the Westminster health secretary is proposing to make vaping products available on NHS prescription.

The Fed’s Ireland district president Martin Mulligan said: “As responsible retailers we would have no problem with any common sense legislation but banning flavoured vaping products altogether is a step too far.

“There isn’t a problem with under-age people buying vaping products – it’s mainly older people who buy them. We see vape as a totally different product to tobacco and it should be treated as such.”

Co. Wexford retailer James Doran, who owns The Superior Vaping Company, added: “Ninety per cent of my customers are over 20-30. It’s not kids who come into my shop for flavours, it’s older people who want to give up smoking.”

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