Earlier this month the Institute responded to a public consultation by the Department of Health in Ireland to inform the future regulation of tobacco and nicotine inhaling products, such as e-cigarettes.
The public consultation was launched in November 2023 and asked questions across seven areas for which new legislation would be needed: point of sale display, appearance of nicotine inhaling products, flavours, vaping restrictions, proxy sales, smoking in outdoor dining areas and raising the legal age of sale for tobacco.
In its response, the Institute said the proposed regulatory measures were necessary, proportionate, feasible, equitable and supported by both evidence and public opinion.
Key Points on Tobacco Regulation
IPH strongly supports the introduction of legislation to create a smoke-free generation on the island of Ireland and recommends:
- Introducing a package of short-term and medium-term tobacco endgame measures including further regulation of nicotine concentrations and product packaging
- Increasing the minimum legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21, with a firm commitment to ultimately prohibit tobacco sales to anyone born after 2009
- Adoption of a comprehensive pricing strategy including taxation and minimum unit pricing of tobacco and e-cigarette products
- Application of place-based approaches to reduce the accessibility of tobacco utilising the recently approved licensing system
- Investment in workforce capacity and resources for enforcement within the Health Service Executive, local councils and an Garda Síochána
- Introducing a legal requirement for all government departments and elected officials in Ireland to report on compliance with Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
- Introducing regulations to create smoke-free outdoor dining areas.
Key Points on E-cigarette Regulation
IPH recommends an approach to e-cigarette regulation that focusses on reducing the appeal and accessibility of e-cigarettes to children and young people, and recommends:
- Keeping e-cigarette products behind the counter and prohibiting in-store marketing and promotional materials
- Introducing further regulation on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes online
- Prohibiting the use of all imagery including animations/cartoons, colouring and branding for both e-cigarette packaging and device
- Restricting e-cigarette flavours including flavour descriptors
- Adopting a comprehensive strategy on reducing retail outlet density for tobacco prior to any consideration of exemptions for specialist vape shops
- Introducing progressive e-cigarette taxation targeted to products preferred by young people, but maintaining a price differential through consistent increases in tobacco taxation
- Resourcing change management, communications, evaluation, and monitoring systems to assess policy impacts on children, tobacco users, dual users, and e-cigarette only users.