The sale of tobacco products to persons under 16 years of age is prohibited under the Tobacco (Health Promotion and Protection) Act, 1988. Prosecutions for breaches of the Act are brought by the health boards. The information sought is not kept centrally in my Department and has been requested from the health boards. When the information is made available to me I will forward it to the Deputy.
With regard to selling tobacco products the retail organisations are aware of the prohibition on sales of tobacco products to minors. Campaigns to highlight this have been carried out by my Department in recent years.
Promoting a smoke free society is a priority for me and my Department. A fundamental review on smoking and health policy is being carried out by a group established by me shortly after taking office. One of the areas being looked at is enforcement of tobacco legislation and regulations to protect children. The group will be reporting to me shortly and I will bring forward further proposals in this area.