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Smoking age increases to 21 in Ireland

Ireland will raise the minimum age for the purchase of cigarettes to 21, according to plan approved by cabinet.

The cabinet said in a statement on Tuesday that the plan would make Ireland the first country in the EU to take such measure.

It said the move came 20 years after Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in workplaces, including pubs and restaurants.

Currently, 18 per cent of the population over the age of 15 are smokers.

The new proposal is designed to reduce Ireland’s adult smoking rate to less than five per cent.

Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke kills an estimated 4,500 people a year in Ireland.

The government said the evidence showed that people were at high risk of becoming smokers between the ages of 18 and 21.

It added that rising the minimum purchasing age would make it harder for young people to access tobacco products through direct and proxy buys, as well as social sources.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said it was a “tough” measure, adding that “the health impacts of tobacco smoking are immense and require tough responses.”

According to health officials, smoking has caused 13 per cent of all cancers and contributed too many preventable illnesses including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, eye diseases, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

It is also responsible for 5 per cent of hospital inpatient admissions, while the financial loss caused by smoking was estimated at 10.6 billion euro annually.

“our smoking rates are still unacceptably high, so I am delighted that we are progressing with a strong population protection measure.

“A measure that will help bring us closer to the goal of a tobacco-free Ireland,’’ Chief Medical Officer Prof. Breda Smyth said.

The bill would provide that the prohibition on tobacco product sales will not apply to those who are currently between the ages of 18 and 20.

The proposed legislation would not impact the minimum legal age of sale of nicotine-inhaling products or vapes.

Since December, the sale of vapes to fewer than 18s has been banned.

There is currently no proposal to extend this ban to the age of 21.

The Government said preliminary legal advice suggests Ireland cannot pursue a “smokefree-generation” policy as has been suggested in other jurisdictions because of the EU’s single market rules and Tobacco Products Directive.

Smoking age increases to 21 in Ireland

Ireland will raise the minimum age for the purchase of cigarettes to 21, according to plan approved by cabinet.

The cabinet said in a statement on Tuesday that the plan would make Ireland the first country in the EU to take such measure.

It said the move came 20 years after Ireland became the first country in the world to ban smoking in workplaces, including pubs and restaurants.

Currently, 18 per cent of the population over the age of 15 are smokers.

The new proposal is designed to reduce Ireland’s adult smoking rate to less than five per cent.

Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke kills an estimated 4,500 people a year in Ireland.

The government said the evidence showed that people were at high risk of becoming smokers between the ages of 18 and 21.

It added that rising the minimum purchasing age would make it harder for young people to access tobacco products through direct and proxy buys, as well as social sources.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said it was a “tough” measure, adding that “the health impacts of tobacco smoking are immense and require tough responses.”

According to health officials, smoking has caused 13 per cent of all cancers and contributed too many preventable illnesses including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, eye diseases, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

It is also responsible for 5 per cent of hospital inpatient admissions, while the financial loss caused by smoking was estimated at 10.6 billion euro annually.

“our smoking rates are still unacceptably high, so I am delighted that we are progressing with a strong population protection measure.

“A measure that will help bring us closer to the goal of a tobacco-free Ireland,’’ Chief Medical Officer Prof. Breda Smyth said.

The bill would provide that the prohibition on tobacco product sales will not apply to those who are currently between the ages of 18 and 20.

The proposed legislation would not impact the minimum legal age of sale of nicotine-inhaling products or vapes.

Since December, the sale of vapes to fewer than 18s has been banned.

There is currently no proposal to extend this ban to the age of 21.

The Government said preliminary legal advice suggests Ireland cannot pursue a “smokefree-generation” policy as has been suggested in other jurisdictions because of the EU’s single market rules and Tobacco Products Directive.

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