Minister introduces additional measures to protect children from tobacco and e-cigarettes 

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Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly

Health  Minister Stephen Donnelly has commenced further sections of the Public Health (Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Act 2023 to strengthen the protection of children from tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products such as e-cigarettes or vapes.  

The provisions commenced will:

  • Ban the sale of tobacco products or nicotine inhaling products at events aimed at children.
  • Prohibit advertising for nicotine inhaling products around cinema films for children, on public service vehicles and at stops or stations and within 200 metres of a school.

There is a six-month lead-in time for these measures, which will take effect from September 23, 2024.

A further provision underpinning by law test purchasing operations carried out by the National Environmental Health Service of the Health Service Executive (HSE) on tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products has already come into effect.

Test purchasing operations involve a minor aged 15 or over attempting to purchase tobacco products in contravention of the ban on sales to minors. These operations were previously approved by the High Court for tobacco , but are now contained in legislation for both tobacco and nicotine inhaling products. This coincided with the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the smoking ban in workplaces in Ireland.

It follows the commencement in December 2023 of Section 28 of the Act which made it an offence to sell a nicotine inhaling product to a child.

Minister Donnelly said, “The commencement will bring into operation further elements of our overall strategy to reduce the exposure of our children to smoking and vaping. I am particularly pleased to have commenced the statutory framework for test purchases as it highlights how some of our young people themselves are helping to protect other young people from tobacco and nicotine inhaling products.

“As we mark 20 years since the introduction of the smoking ban in Ireland, my Department continues to introduce evidence-based policy measures that help to reduce the significant health burden that smoking places on our population. 

“Second-hand smoke causes cancers, heart disease and strokes, and young people who vape are more likely to go on to smoke, so it is vital that we initiate measures to protect them from addictive products.

“We have made great strides in this area, but the work continues and I want to reaffirm my commitment to reaching our goal of a tobacco free Ireland.”

The Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton said, “I welcome these further measures to allow our children to go about their daily lives without being exposed to advertising for e-cigarettes. I look forward to the implementation of further measures on nicotine inhaling products that are currently being developed. The recent public consultation on the further regulation of vapes and tobacco will help to inform future regulation, with the aim of protecting the health of our population, and in particular, our young people.”