Tuesday, 3 December 2019
Department of Health
Tobacco Control Measures
347. To ask the Minister for Health if he has examined the experience of certain US states in which they have increased the age that a person can buy tobacco from 18 to 21 years of age; and if such a move is permissible here. [49826/19]
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of ill health and death, with more than 5,900 people estimated to die from smoking in Ireland each year. I welcome the recently published data from the Healthy Ireland Survey 2019 which showed that the prevalence of smoking has dropped from 23% in 2015 to 17% in 2019, which means there are now an estimated 165,000 fewer smokers here than there were five years ago.
The current priority tobacco control legislation project is the drafting of a Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill which will:
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products at locations and events intended for children
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products by persons under 18 years (the sale of tobacco to persons under 18 is already prohibited)
- prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products by and to persons under 18 years
- introduce a licensing system for the retail sale of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products. A separate licence for each premises will be required and an annual fee will apply.
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products from self-service vending machines and temporary or mobile units.
My Department is aware of the steps taken by some US States and continues to keep all such measures under consideration.