TD calls for age limit on tobacco products to be increased to 21

Td Calls For Age Limit On Tobacco Products To Be Increased To 21
Fine Gael health spokesperson Colm Burke has called for the change. Photo: PA Images
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James Cox

A TD has called for the age limit to purchase tobacco products to be upped to 21.

Fine Gael health spokesperson Colm Burke has called for the change to help Ireland meet the public health target of less than 5 per cent smoking rate by 2025.


He said Ireland has been at the "forefront in the control of tobacco products", citing the 2004 ban on smoking in the workplace.

“The standardised packaging introduced in 2018 further strengthened the anti-smoking message. The various control measures and strong public health campaigns were extremely successful in reducing smoking rates. Unfortunately, in recent years we have taken our foot off the pedal and momentum behind anti-smoking campaigns has eased."

He said the target of a smoking rate of less than 5 per cent will not be met without "effective action".

Mr Burke said the rise in popularity of vaping is a gateway to cigarette smoking.


“The Government now needs to take effective action to restore momentum behind its anti-smoking policy. The most effective measure would be to raise the age for the purchase of tobacco products from 18 to 21. This would send a very clear public health message. There is strong international evidence that raising the age to 21 will significantly reduce smoking rates among the under 25s. Evidence from the United States indicates a drop in smoking rates of 20 per cent and higher in the under 25 age group when the age limit is raised to 21 years.

“This could easily be achieved by way of a government amendment to the Public Health [Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products] Bill which is currently making its way through the legislative process. Or if that is not possible a separate piece of legislation amending the existing tobacco control legislation – the Public Health [Tobacco] Act 2002 should be introduced.

“A 2022 report supporting the raising of the age limit published by the Royal College of Physicians shows that smoking is a contributory factor in 4,500 deaths each year. Smoking also places a huge cost burden on the health system. Not smoking is also a key factor in enjoying better health as people get older and live longer."

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