The proposals will be incorporated into the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill which is currently being drafted. The bill is expected to be finalised and published by year-end. The legislation will be designed to regulate any product that can be used for the consumption of nicotine-containing vapour or any component of that product.
The bill already contains measures to ban the sale of nicotine inhaling products to those under the age of 18 and to introduce a licensing system for the retail sale of tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products. Other measures contained in the bill include:
Minister for Public Health, Frank Feighan said the government recognises that “nicotine inhaling products are used by some adult smokers to assist them to quit tobacco smoking”
“These measures are designed to protect our children and young people from starting to vape. We recognise that nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and we are acting today to make these products less accessible to our young people and to remove the advertising for these products from our children’s everyday lives,” said Minister Donnelly.
The Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan, welcomed the government’s approval of the measures, noting: “Tobacco smoking continues to kill approximately 4,500 people in our country each year. We recognise that nicotine inhaling products are used by some adult smokers to assist them to quit tobacco smoking. However, we are clear that these products are of no benefit to our children and young people or to non-smokers and that is why we are taking this action.”
However, the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) stated in response to this advocacy, that the suggestion that the age restrictions for tobacco sales (currently 18) and vaping (none currently) would be raised to 21, would be of particular concern to the association.
The CSNA said it would have serious difficulty with the proposal on two grounds. Firstly, that banning existing smokers aged 18 and over from accessing tobacco products would lead to very difficult safety concerns for many of the CSNA’s members and their staff. Secondly, the CSNA also stated it would be very concerned that the change would lead to restrictions on the age that shop staff must be to sell tobacco.