Thursday, 3 October 2019

Questions (149)

Michael Healy-Rae


149. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health his views on the banning of vending machines (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40206/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Tobacco use is both addictive and lethal and remains the leading risk factor driving the most death and disability combined in Ireland. Approximately 6,000 of our population die annually from tobacco related diseases and tobacco use has been estimated to cost Irish society €10.7 billion annually. This is comprised of healthcare costs of $507 million, productivity costs of €1,071 million, fires and litter costs of €75 million and loss of welfare of €9,012 million.

The 2018 Healthy Ireland Survey found that 20% of those aged 15 or over are current smokers

Tobacco Free Ireland, our national tobacco control policy, has set an overarching goal of having Ireland tobacco free by 2025 (i.e. a smoking prevalence of less than 5%) and prioritising the protection of children and the denormalisation of smoking.

In this context I intend to bring forward a proposal for legislation that will, among other important steps in tobacco control, prohibit the sale of tobacco products from self - service vending machines in order to protect our children, to further denormalise smoking and to reach our goal of becoming a tobacco free society.