The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has brought proposed legislation to Cabinet to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18.
The proposed legislation will prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products to those under the age of 18, as well as the sale of these products by those under the age of 18.
It will also prohibit the sale of tobacco products from self-serving vending machines and prohibit their sale at events or locations that are primarily intended for those under the age of 18.
The legislation also intends to introduce a licensing system for the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes. This would involve a premises paying an annual fee to sell these products. The amount of this fee would be determined by the Minister for Health.
"Tobacco costs the Irish exchequer a total of €10.6 billion every year and 6,000 deaths a year are caused by smoking. I am determined to continue to make the necessary legislative changes to confront this challenge and help reach our goal of being tobacco free.
"The measures in relation to nicotine inhaling products recognises that these products are not ordinary consumer goods, but products that contain a highly addictive substance which should not be available to children. As the industry continues to adapt, we must ensure it is not able to lure our children into this deadly addiction," Minister Harris said.
The proposed legislation was welcomed by the Irish Heart Foundation, however it warned that "much more needs to be done to ensure that another generation of young people in this country does not become addicted to nicotine".
"We know from our experience with youth smoking that a ban on sales to minors alone will not work. It is vital that in tandem with this measure, a blanket ban is applied on the advertising of e-cigarettes to all age groups.
"We also need to ban flavoured e-cigarettes. These are clearly aimed at young people, not those long-term smokers who might benefit from vaping," commented the foundation's head of advocacy, Chris Macey.
Minister Harris will now refer the General Scheme of the Bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health for pre-legislative scrutiny.
Discussions on this topic are now closed.