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The original motion had called on the IMO to “endorse” e-cigarettes as an effective tool and as a “far safer alternative to tobacco”.
However, after some debate and concerns raised by the IMO Public Health and Community Health Doctors Committee, the word “endorse” was amended to “recognises”.
The motion’s proposer, Dublin GP Dr Garrett McGovern, agreed to this amendment.
“In recent years in Ireland, we have had some real positive effects in terms of moving towards a smoke-free society. We have had the smoking ban and we have a number of smoking cessation devices that have been very helpful,” said Dr McGovern.
“There has been some very bad press on e-cigarettes in recent times, much of it not based on science. These are relatively new devices. When I talk about e-cigarettes, it is as a relative harm compared to tobacco. I don’t think there is any great evidence that these are a gateway for young people. The gateway for young people is the same as it has always been, which is peer pressure.”
GP Dr Cathal Ó Súilleabháin, also speaking in favour of the motion, said it was important to support “anything that works that doesn’t cause significant harm”. He added: “Of course we need to do the studies [but] anybody can see the anecdotal evidence is so strong.”
During the same General Motions session, the IMO voted to support “supervised injecting rooms” for illicit drug-taking.
The union also called on the Government to “legislate for an automatic ban from driving, of appropriate duration, to be levied against all those convicted of drink-driving offences, including first-time offenders”.