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Tobacco Control Measures

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 28 January 2016

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Questions (232, 234)

Maureen O'Sullivan


232. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health if further stakeholder engagement, particularly with the independently owned companies in the vape product sector, is planned as the transposition of the tobacco product directive progresses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3463/16]

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Maureen O'Sullivan


234. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health to acknowledge the harmful nature of tobacco smoking, and to keep an open mind to vape products, as a means to counter tobacco smoking; to acknowledge that vape products are providing a non-carbon monoxide, non-tobacco and non-tar alternative to cigarette smoking, and therefore regulation should be carefully examined, and the scientific evidence of international experts utilised before making blanket decisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3465/16]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 232 and 234 together.

Member states must transpose the mandatory requirements under the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) into national legislation by 20 May 2016. Within a number of those mandatory requirements, Member States may determine certain discretionary elements. The Department recently undertook a public consultation seeking views on those discretionary elements. Interested parties, including those from the e-cigarette industry, provided their views through this process. The submissions from the consultation are being analysed and will inform policy decisions. The Department is working to transpose the Directive into national legislation by the May 2016 deadline and the e-cigarette industry will be informed of their obligations under the Directive.

In relation to e-cigarettes and refill containers, the Directive will:

- set mandatory safety and quality requirements e.g. on nicotine content, ingredients and devices, as well as refill mechanisms etc., for e-cigarettes;

- make health warnings and information leaflets obligatory;

- introduce notification requirements for manufacturers and importers of e-cigarettes; and

- impose stricter rules on advertising and monitoring of market developments.

While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they do contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance which is the driver for cigarette smoking. Because they are a relatively recent product, there is limited scientific information available to balance the potential harms and benefits that might arise from more widespread public use. Hence, there are legitimate concerns about the public health benefits of allowing such products to exist without regulation. The Department will continue to monitor evidence on the potential harms and benefits of these products so as to inform decisions around any future additional regulation in this area.