Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of ill health and death, with more than 5,900 people estimated to die from smoking in Ireland each year. I welcome the recently published data from the Healthy Ireland Survey 2019 which showed that the prevalence of smoking has dropped from 23% in 2015 to 17% in 2019, which means there are now an estimated 165,000 fewer smokers here than there were five years ago.
The current priority tobacco control legislation project is the drafting of a Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill which will:
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products at locations and events intended for children
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products by persons under 18 years (the sale of tobacco to persons under 18 is already prohibited)
- prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products by and to persons under 18 years
- introduce a licensing system for the retail sale of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products. A separate licence for each premises will be required and an annual fee will apply.
- prohibit the sale of tobacco products from self-service vending machines and temporary or mobile units.
My Department is aware of the steps taken by some US States and continues to keep all such measures under consideration.