In 2019 the HSE National Environmental Health Service (EHS) Tobacco Control Inspection Programme carried out the following;
- 15,105 inspections were completed, of which 12,386 were compliant, representing 82% compliance.
Included in this inspection figure are X inspections of manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of ecigarettes and refill containers which were carried out by the National Tobacco Control Operational Unit.
- 467 test purchase inspections were carried out, of which 404 were compliant, representing 86.5% compliance.
The KPI target of 384 initial test purchase inspections for 2019 was met.
- A total of 115 complaints in relation to TPD were received and responded to by the National Tobacco Control Operational Unit.
- 41 convictions were secured in respect of prosecution cases taken for non-compliance with the prohibition of smoking and the provision of signage in workplaces, and sales of tobacco products to minors.
The following activities were undertaken in relation to the implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive as transposed in the Republic of Ireland as the European Union (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products) Regulations 2016 (SI 271 of 2016) as amended:
- 44 inspections of manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of e-cigarettes and refill containers were carried out by the National Tobacco Control Operational Unit (NTCOU).
- 1 RAPEX Alert was initiated by the HSE relating to unsafe refill containers (e-liquids) and 6 RAPEX Alerts were received from other Member States which were investigated.
- 13 Cross-Border Distance Sales registrations were processed up to 31 December 2019.
- A total of 209 queries in relation to TPD were received and responded to by the NTCOU.
Drafting of the General Scheme of the Bill by DOH continued for much of 2019 with continued engagement with HSE / EHS.
On October 22 2019 the Minister for Health received the approval from Government to draft a Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill. The proposed legislation, in line with recommendations of Tobacco Free Ireland, will:
- introduce a licensing system for the sale of (a) tobacco products and (b) nicotine inhaling products to include an annual fee per premises for the sale of such, in such an amount as may be determined by the Minister
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products from self-service vending machines
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products from mobile units/containers
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products by those under 18 years
- prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products to persons under 18 years (the sale of tobacco products to persons under 18 years is already prohibited under the Public Health (Tobacco) Acts 2002-2015)
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products at events/locations primarily intended for persons under 18 years
- introduce minimum suspension periods for tobacco retailers convicted of offences
- introduce fixed penalty notices (on the spot fines) for offences
- provide for the publication of information in respect of any person on whom a fine, other penalty or conviction is imposed by a court (‘name and shame’)
The Minister has referred the General Scheme of the Bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health for prelegislative scrutiny.
Parallel to the pre-legislative scrutiny process, the Minister formally requested the Office of Parliamentary Counsel begin drafting the Bill in coordination with DOH. Once the Bill is drafted, the Minister will seek Government approval to publish the Bill and bring it before the Oireachtas.