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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 984, 985, 986, 987 & 988- Tobacco control measures [31396/15].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 984, 985, 986, 987 & 988- Tobacco control measures [31396/15]. (22 Sep 2015)


984. Deputy Micheál Martinasked the Minister for Health his position on e-cigarettes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31396/15]

 

985. Deputy Micheál Martinasked the Minister for Health if he or his Department have plans to introduce legislation to ban the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31397/15]

 

986. Deputy Micheál Martinasked the Minister for Health if he and his Department are assessing the impact of the use of e-cigarettes by users and also if the impact of e-cigarettes in workplaces is being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31398/15]

 

987. Deputy Micheál Martinasked the Minister for Health if environmental health officers are concerned regarding the impact of the use of e-cigarettes in workplaces; if he has discussed the matter with them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31399/15]

 

988. Deputy Micheál Martinasked the Minister for Health if he and his Department have any concerns regarding the use of e-cigarettes in workplaces and its impact on younger persons in particular; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31400/15]

 

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 984 to 988, inclusive, together.

E-cigarettes and other non-medicinal nicotine delivery systems are not regulated under tobacco control legislation because they do not contain tobacco. They must however, comply with the European Communities (General Product Safety) Regulations which specify the duties of producers and distributors placing products on the market.

While e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they do contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance which is the driver for cigarette smoking. Hence, there are legitimate concerns about the public health benefits of allowing such products to exist without regulation. Because they are a relatively recent product, there is limited scientific information available to balance the potential harms and benefits that might arise from more widespread public use.

The EU Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU), inter alia, provides for the regulation of certain aspects of e-cigarettes across EU Member States. My Department is working to transpose the Directive into national legislation by the May 2016 deadline.

 

The Directive will:

- set mandatory safety and quality requirements e.g. on nicotine content, ingredients and devices, as well as refill mechanisms etc., for e-cigarettes;

- make health warnings and information leaflets obligatory;

- introduce notification requirements for manufacturers and importers of e-cigarettes; and

 

- impose stricter rules on advertising and monitoring of market developments.

In addition to the regulations under the Directive, e-cigarettes will be further regulated in Ireland through the introduction of a retail licensing system. The legislation, approved by Government will also prohibit the sale of these products to, and by, persons under 18 years of age.

Currently the evidence base does not support prohibiting vaping in public places although individual organisations/companies are free to introduce an e-cigs free policy. My Department will continue to monitor evidence on the potential harms and any benefits of these products, so as to inform decisions around any future additional regulation in this area.

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