Ireland is proposing to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21

According to the Irish Post on December 24, Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has announced plans to ban smoking across the country.


Mr Donnelly said he planned to first raise the legal age to buy cigarettes to 21, the first step in his campaign for a complete ban on smoking in Ireland. He told reporters that his plan “will save a lot of lives.”


He wants to introduce a bill similar to a law recently proposed in Britain, where the Conservative government aims to make it a crime for anyone born on or after January 1, 2009, to be sold tobacco products. This means it will effectively increase the smoking age every year until everyone is covered by this provision. Adolescent smoking is expected to be virtually eradicated by 2040.


Donnelly said he has asked his officials to “prepare some options” for the legislation needed for his epoch-making plan.


Donnelly said, “I’m thinking about raising the smoking age. Currently, cigarettes are bought illegally under the age of 18. I think there is a very strong public health case for increasing this age. At least look at 21 (but) I think we should open up further.”


He also revealed that his grandmother died of emphysema caused by smoking and that her death was not a beautiful one.


Last week, Donnelly opened Part 28 of the Public Health (Tobacco Products and Nicotine Inhalation Products) Bill, which would ban the sale of nicotine inhalation products to people under the age of 18. Those who violate the new law could face fines of up to 4,000 euros and/or imprisonment for up to six months.


“I thank my colleagues in both houses of Parliament for understanding the urgency for our children and for supporting me in moving quickly to get this law implemented.” I would also like to thank the officers in my department and the staff in the Attorney-General’s Office who have worked hard to refine the statutory regulations so that we can implement this ban from tomorrow.”


“In 2024, I will activate other measures in the Bill (such as advertising, licensing systems, and vending machines) and we will examine the results of the public consultation on vapes and other tobacco,” he said.