Ireland’s Health Minister Simon Harris has introduced new rules to the Irish Cabinet that proposes to:
- Ban the sale of vape products to under-18s
- Ban on the sale of tobacco and vape products from vending machines
- Ban on the sale of tobacco and vape products at locations/events where children are present
- Introduce a licencing system costing vape shops an annual fee – no licence, no business
- Separate licences for each individual vape shop in a chain, again payable annually
- Fixed penalty notices for shops that break the rules
- A “Name & Shame” list for shops that break the rules
According to members of the cabinet, Harris referred to his proposals as a “clampdown on e-cigarettes” and spoke about wanting to extend the measures further at a later date. Harris feels vaping poses health risks of a “serious nature”.
On banning vape adverts, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “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.”
Given the background to the limp support vaping has received, a wholesale restriction/ban on advertising looks likely unless opposed. Recently, Former Irish health minister James Reilly demanded the Taoiseach and government implement a full-scale flavour ban akin to those being carried out in the United States. Reilly justified the call by saying that “the science is still evolving” on vaping. “Our approach must be rooted in the idea that vapes are designed to introduce people to a new habit and keep them active in that habit.”
NNA Ireland’s Tom Gleeson commented: “It's disappointing to see vaping being used as an election gambit, especially from a doctor who should know better. Tobacco harm reduction is a growing movement which is driving fast reduction of smoking rates in countries which implement sensible regulation. As Minister of Health, James Reilly launched a project to achieve a 'smoke-free Ireland', this suggestion would seriously obstruct such an aspiration and should be strongly resisted.”
“If you are a constituent of Dublin Fingal who vapes, keep in mind when you vote in the upcoming by-election that Reilly intends to take your flavours away. We would also advise all Irish vapers to write to their elected representatives – especially if they are Fine Gael members - and politely explain why this policy suggestion should be abandoned."