The Institute of Public Health (IPH) is today appearing before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health to give evidence on the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill 2019.
IPH Director of Policy Dr Helen McAvoy joined Professor Des Cox from the Royal College of Physicians Ireland (RCPI) Tobacco Policy Group to give evidence on this proposed legislation. IPH and RCPI previously submitted joint written positions on this legislation in January 2020 and in June 2021.
Today IPH has welcomed this proposed legislation on tobacco and nicotine inhaling products as ‘proportionate’, based on sound principles and evidence, and complementary to the existing suite of tobacco control legislation and Tobacco Free Ireland policy.
In an opening statement to the Joint Committee on Health, the Institute said the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill 2019 will make both tobacco and e-cigarettes less accessible to children and enhance government oversight on the supply of these products.
The Bill aligns with the Tobacco Free Ireland policy which seeks to denormalise tobacco use, protect children, and work towards tobacco endgame.
Tobacco causes enormous physical, psychological, and financial harm to children and adults. There is also a significant cost to the Exchequer, with 2016 estimates suggesting a €711M cost from productivity losses and premature deaths due to tobacco use in Ireland.
The Institute strongly supports the prohibition of e-cigarettes sales to under 18s and proposals to introduce a retail licensing system for tobacco or nicotine inhaling products.
Additionally, IPH would support raising the minimum legal age of sale for tobacco products to 21 years, as there is convincing evidence that this would reduce the numbers of children and young people trying tobacco and becoming regular smokers.
IPH further endorses the complete prohibition of self-service vending machines for tobacco and nicotine inhaling products, a measure that has already been implemented in many other countries, including Northern Ireland.
The Institute also highlights the need to keep pace with new tobacco and other nicotine products given the evolving market, which is offering a new and diverse range of products, such as chewable nicotine pouches now being marketed in Ireland.
Read IPH’s opening statement to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health on the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill 2019 here or below.