Press release

HSE welcomes ban on sale of nicotine inhaling products to children

Published: 22 December 2023

Updated: 31 January 2024


Selling nicotine-inhaling products to a child carries a penalty fine of up to €4,000 and a six-month term of imprisonment.

The HSE welcomes the introduction of legislation banning the sale of nicotine inhaling products to children. The HSE National Environmental Health Service will enforce this legislation. Environmental Health Officers in each county will carry out a test purchase programme in retailers of nicotine inhaling products to test the market for the sale of these products to minors.

Dr Maurice Mulcahy, Regional Chief Environmental Health Officer, HSE, said: 

Where retailers sell tobacco products to minors, they are prosecuted through the District Court. In 2023, the National Environmental Health Service successfully prosecuted 28 retailers for selling tobacco products to minors.

With the introduction of this new legislation, the test purchase programme will now include retailers of electronic cigarettes/vapes to monitor the sale of these products to those under 18 years.

We are calling on retailers to familiarise themselves with the law and put in place adequate controls so they ask for proof of age such as an age card, passport or a driving licence so they may avoid committing an offence and prevent children from accessing such products.

If you wish to make a complaint regards a premises selling electronic cigarettes/vapes to minors please contact your local Environmental Health Office, details of which are available on the HSE website Contact your Environmental Health Office.

Responding to the legislation, Dr Paul Kavanagh, Consultant in Public Health Medicine HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme said:

“The enactment of the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products Act 2023 is an important step forward for public health in Ireland. It is especially welcome that the Minister has immediately commenced provisions prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to people under 18 years.

The use of e-cigarettes has risen quickly among children and young people who are especially vulnerable to the harms, especially nicotine addiction and lung injury. Prohibition on product sales to people under 18 years is a fundamental cornerstone of a much-needed regulatory framework to better protect the health and safety of children and young people from e-cigarette related harms.

Existing provisions prohibiting sales of conventional cigarettes, which are currently overseen by the HSE Environmental Health Service, have been instrumental in reducing smoking among children and young people in Ireland.

We can expect these new measures, especially when fully supported by the retail licensing system provided for under the Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhaling Products Act 2023, will help address rising e-cigarette use among children and young people.

In anticipation of these new measures, the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme has already shared resources with schools and parents/guardians to support them in building an environment where children and young people are protected from e-cigarette harms.

It is welcome that the Minister is also consulting on wider measures to protect children and young people including flavours, packaging and, point-of-sale advertising, all of which are well-established tactics from the tobacco industry playbook that were cynically used to promote conventional cigarettes.”

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