Licencing system for sales of tobacco proposed; plans to ban e-cigs for under 18s

Licencing system for sales of tobacco proposed; plans to ban e-cigs for under 18s

Shops will be forced to pay for licences to sell tobacco and e-cigarette products and will be named and shamed and face potential fines if they fail to do so under new government plans.

Health Minister Simon Harris will bring the potential new rules to Cabinet this morning, alongside linked plans to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s and to block their sale at vending machines at any event attended by children.

Under existing rules, a shop is required to pay a one-off fee of the same value of four or five packets of cigarettes if it wants to sell any tobacco product.

However, the Irish Examiner understands that at the weekly cabinet meeting this morning, Mr Harris will ask ministerial colleagues to back a new bill to curtail tobacco sales further, alongside a similar e-cigarettes clampdown.

  • The legislation is expected to include:

  • A ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s;
  • A ban on the sale of tobacco products from vending machines and at locations or events where children are likely to be present;
  • A new licencing system which will force shops to pay an annual fee to the State if they want to sell “tobacco products and nicotine-inhaling products such as e-cigarettes”.
  • A separate licence for each individual shop where the products are sold, which will also carry an annual fee;
  • “Additional enforcement tools” including fixed penalty notices and a name and shame list for shops which fail to adhere to the rules.

It is understood the aim of the proposed legislation is to reflect the serious nature of the health risks posed by tobacco products and e-cigarettes, and concerns the medical warnings are not being fully taken on board by the wider population.

The move was previously flagged by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier this month, when he told the Dáil of government plans to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to teenagers.

Certainly, the Government will give consideration to restricting the sale of vaping equipment to minors, prohibiting and restricting advertising.

"These are definitely things that Government will consider, but we will do it based on the evidence and the scientific advice and what our public health doctors and experts say,” he said on October 9.

Meanwhile, today’s cabinet meeting is also likely to discuss plans from Katherine Zappone, the children’s minister, to amend the child care 2019 bill to better take account of the guardian ad litem system.

Ms Zappone is also expected to ask for the annual report on the implementation of the LGBTI+ national youth strategy to be published, which will outline the developments across the country in relation to how LGBTI+ children and teenagers are treated by society.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney are also likely to provide ministers with an update on the latest Brexit situation, in light of last week’s EU leaders summit in Brussels and ongoing developments at the House of Commons in Britain.

It is expected the Taoiseach will update cabinet colleagues on the latest situation relating to Britain’s departure from the EU, which is still due to occur on October 31.

In addition, both he and Mr Coveney will emphasise to ministers that while progress is being made on securing an amicable divorce deal between the EU and Britain, Ireland’s no-deal preparation planning must continue.

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