Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs today (Wednesday) introduced a Private Member’s Bill at First Stage in Dáil Éireann to prohibit the sale and supply of e-cigarettes, herbal cigarettes and related products to people under 18 years of age.
Speaking in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Farrell stated: “As we know, nicotine is an addictive substance, and many vaping or e-cigarette products contain nicotine.
“Ensuring that our younger citizens are not attracted to such products, or indeed herbal cigarettes which do not include nicotine, must be of the utmost importance, particularly in ensuring that such products cannot act as a ‘gateway’ to tobacco-based products.”
Acknowledging the legislation that Minister Harris is preparing on this topic, Deputy Farrell said: “I understand Minister Harris has obtained approval for a draft scheme for a bill that covers aspects of my bill.
“However, in this regard, I would ask the Government to consider the fact that my Bill is ready, and also the likelihood of the Minister’s Bill being subject to the EU’s Transparency Directive.
“The Transparency Directive, where a bill is subject, requires Member States to notify the Commission of technical regulations in draft and then wait for a standstill period of at least three months before adopting those regulations.
The Bill I have brought forward, which is simply prohibiting the sale of e-cigarette and herbal cigarette products to under 18s, I would argue, would not be subject to the Transparency Directive, while I believe the Ministerial Bill, when looking at the Heads of Bill, may be subject.
“What this would mean in practice is that this Bill could be enacted to ban the sale of these products to minors, while the Ministerial Bill, when brought forward, must observe the standstill period.”
Following his contribution in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Farrell said: “I am committed to working in the best interests of our younger citizens. As Chair of the Children and Youth Affairs Committee, I believe we should take action which is in the interests of the health of our young people as a matter of the utmost priority.
“I believe by introducing this Bill to prohibit the sale and supply of e-cigarettes, herbal cigarettes and related products to people under the age of 18 we can work to prevent young people from being attracted to smoking.
“I hope that the Government will examine and facilitate the passage of this legislation as a means to ban the sale of these products to under 18s now, and then further bolster it with legislation which may come from the Department of Health.
“However, when it comes to securing the health of our young people, the Bill I have brought forward allows us to implement protections in law now. If this is achieved, and it prevents even one young person from taking up smoking, or being enticed trying tobacco or nicotine related products, then I would consider it to be a success.”