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Bill would ban tobacco sales to under-21s
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Pic: RollingNews.ie)

25 Jun 2024 / legislation Print

Bill would ban tobacco sales to under-21s

Ireland could become the first country in the EU to raise the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21, after the Government approved legislation on the issue today (25 June).

The Department of Health says that the measure is being introduced to accelerate a drop in adult smoking prevalence, which it says has plateaued at 18% for several years.

It is also among a series of measures designed to reduce smoking prevalence among children.

The Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Bill 2024 will now be brought forward for enactment.

Social groups

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that tobacco smoking continued to kill 4,500 people every year and remained the biggest single cause of disability and death combined.

"The modelling shows us that this measure will not only protect the targeted age group, but will also protect those under 18, as they will be less likely to be in social groups with 21-year-olds who can legally purchase cigarettes,” he stated.

Ireland would be the first EU country to introduce this measure. Latvia has enacted a law to raise the minimum age of sale to 20 from 2025.

Lead-in time

A lead-in time means that those already entitled to be sold tobacco products – people over 18 but under 21 – will not be affected.

The department says that the proposed legislation will not affect the minimum legal age of sale of nicotine-inhaling products or vapes.

Since December, the sale of vapes to under-18s has been banned. There is currently no proposal to extend this ban to the age of 21, according to the department.

Gazette Desk
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