271. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if his Department or the HSE are monitoring the use of e-cigarettes or vaporisers; his views on the increased number of outlets selling these products; if there are restrictions on advertising same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18856/18 asked on 01 May 2018)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I have no plans to introduce legislation prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

The introduction of workplace smoking ban was based on clear and unequivocal evidence that second hand smoke is harmful to non-smokers. That evidence base does not exist for the aerosol generated from e-cigarettes. However, individual organisations/companies are free to introduce an e-cigarette free policy if they so choose.

The European Union (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco and Related Products) Regulations 2016 (SI No. 271 of 2016) does not place restrictions on the number of retail outlets selling these products. It does however, set the requirements for e-cigarettes and refill containers which include quality and safety, labelling and advertising.

The Government approved the drafting of the General Scheme of a Bill to provide for the introduction of a licensing system and other measures in relation to tobacco products and electronic non-medicinal nicotine delivery systems (NMNDS), including e-cigarettes. The proposed legislation will introduce an annual licensing system for the sale of electronic cigarettes and other non-medicinal nicotine delivery systems. The legislation will also prohibit the sale of NMNDS by persons under 18 years of age and to persons under 18 years of age. The drafting of the General scheme is ongoing.

My Department will continue to monitor the emerging research on these products so as to inform decisions around any future additional regulation in this area.