Self-service cigarette machines set to be stubbed out

Self-service cigarette machines set to be stubbed out

The health minister is planning a major new crackdown on tobacco and e-cigarettes.

Simon Harris is considering new legislation which would ban the sale of tobacco products from self-service vending machines, which would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under 18s, and ban the sale of tobacco at locations intended for children and events organised for children.

The proposed new laws also include plans to introduce a stricter licensing system for the retail sector on the sale of tobacco products and nicotine-inhaling products such as e-cigarettes, with the laws allowing for the naming and shaming of non-complaint retailers.

The laws, which will be considered by government in September, will also allow for additional enforcement tools, including fixed penalty notices and the power to publish a list of non-compliant retailers.

In a statement, Mr Harris said the war against tobacco is not over:

“Six thousand deaths a year are caused by smoking. Tobacco use has been estimated to cost Irish society a total of €10.7bn annually in healthcare, productivity and other costs.”

He said the proposed new licensing system will better reflect the serious nature of the product being sold.

“Under the current system for the sale of tobacco products, a retailer pays a one-off fee, equivalent to the cost of four to five packets of cigarettes, to sell a product that if used correctly will kill half of its users,” he said.

“Despite significant progress in this area, tobacco remains one of the greatest challenges in the area of public health.

“I am determined to continue to make the necessary legislative changes to confront this challenge and help reach our goals of being tobacco free.”

Recent figures suggest that about 22% of Irish adults are smokers — around 830,000 people. The rate of smoking is highest in the 25-34 age group and is lowest (9%) in the over 75 age group.

See the ‘Quit Smoking’ section on www.hse.ie

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