Minister Stephen Donnelly. photo.

Ireland Raising Legal Smoking Age

Ireland is set to raise the legal age of buying cigarettes from 18 to 21 years.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly will introduce the legislation which will not affect those currently aged between 18 and 21.

Speaking back in March, the minister said that the measure is aimed at people who are 15, 16 and 17 years of age.

“They find it relatively easy to buy cigarettes but that if you move to 21 it makes it much more difficult,” he said.

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Tánaiste Micheál Martin introduced the smoking ban in Ireland for indoor spaces back in 2004 when he was Health Minister.

He said Ireland has to make a “renewed effort” to reduce smoking, particularly among the younger generations, adding that Ireland has made great progress over the last 20 years in terms of reducing smoking among young people and de-normalising it.

“So I thinks it’s an important initiative and we have to keep going because the tobacco industry keep returning to try to get people addicted,” said Mr. Martin.

He said more work needed to be done as regards to young people smoking vapes.

“We have to act. It seems to me the same playbook is at play that the tobacco industry did in the 1950s, 1960s, getting young people addicted to cigarettes and created generations of disease.

“Potentially the same play book here with young people being incentivised by flavourings, positioning and presentation of the product and potentially long-term harm, we have to intervene at this stage.”