Public consultation seeks views on further regulation of tobacco and vapes

Public consultation seeks views on further regulation of tobacco and vapes

A public consultation is seeking views on the future regulation of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products such as e-cigarettes or vapes.

Legislation banning the sale of vapes to under-18s is already at an advanced stage in the Oireachtas and the consultation marks the first step in developing further legislation covering vaping.

The areas where views are being sought include the display of nicotine inhaling products in shops, nicotine inhaling product flavours, the appearance of nicotine inhaling products, proxy sales of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products, smoking in outdoor dining areas, extending smoke-free restrictions to vaping, increasing the age of sale for tobacco products, and increasing the price of vapes.

Health minister Stephen Donnelly said: “While I understand that e-cigarettes are used by many adults who are trying to quit smoking, I am deeply concerned by the rise in popularity of vaping among young people. These products clearly appeal to children and young people, and we do not yet know the long-term health impacts of their use.

“We have already taken strong action and will have legislation in place by the end of this year, which will ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children and require a licence to sell them.

“I would now like to invite the public to comment on other aspects such as packaging, display and flavours.

“We also know that effective actions on public health issues require a whole of government approach, which is why we are asking for people’s views on increasing the price of vapes. This will help to inform my colleague, minister for finance Michael McGrath, on how best to approach the taxation of these products to support our public health goals.

“This consultation will help us make effective decisions to protect our children from an addictive product, while reducing the extreme harm caused by smoking.”

Hildegarde Naughton, the minister of state for public health, wellbeing and the national drugs strategy, added: “I am very concerned that some young people are using vapes out of choice rather than as an aid to quit smoking. We know that young people who vape are more likely to go on to smoke, so it is important that they are not drawn to these products.

“As minister with delegated responsibility for public health and wellbeing, I want to ensure that we leave no stone unturned when it comes to delivering the best start for every child in Ireland.

“We can clearly see how some vaping products might be targeted at children or younger people by virtue of their exotic flavouring and colourful packaging.

“This public consultation will help us as ministers to develop legislation around packaging and flavouring of nicotine inhaling products. I would encourage as many people as possible to engage with the public consultation over the next four weeks. I very much look forward to hearing the views of the members of the public and stakeholders in the weeks ahead.”

The public consultation is now open for submissions for a six-week period until Friday 5 January 2024.

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