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Legislation Prohibits Sale of Nicotine Products to Children, Imposing Prison Terms and Fines

A ban on the sale of nicotine-inhaling products, including e-cigarettes or vapes, to children comes into effect in Ireland. Offenders could face up to six months in prison or a penalty of €4,000. The legislation also introduces measures to be enforced in the new year, such as prohibiting the advertising of nicotine products around schools and public transport, regulating vending, and implementing a stricter licensing system.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly emphasised the importance of the legislation in protecting children, as there has been a significant increase in the use of vapes by individuals under 18. The government plans to consider further regulations on the flavour and packaging of vapes next year. A public consultation on future tobacco and nicotine product regulations was launched in November.

The Irish Vape Vendors Association welcomed the legislation but called for the acceleration of other measures, such as licensing. Public opposition to potential changes in regulations, especially regarding flavored vapes, is expected, with concerns raised about potential impacts on the black market and a potential return to smoking.

Professor Des Cox, a consultant in paediatric respiratory medicine, and Dr. Garrett McGovern, a GP specialising in addiction medicine, expressed support for the legislation, emphasising the importance of restrictions on disposable vapes and flavoured products to discourage youth uptake. However, Dr. McGovern cautioned against a complete ban on flavours, citing their significance in smoking cessation efforts.

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