Government tobacco and vapes bill introduced to Parliament

Government tobacco and vapes bill introduced to Parliament

The Tobacco and Vapes Bill has moved a step further after it was introduced to Parliament on Wednesday 20th March.

Under the bill, children turning 15 this year or younger will never legally be able to be sold tobacco.

New powers to restrict vape flavours, packaging and change how vapes are displayed in shops also form part of the bill.

Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has confirmed that NI will be included in Westminster’s Tobacco & Vapes Bill, subject to approval by the Assembly. He said he fully supported the UK Government’s plans to create a smokefree generation and to tackle youth vaping.

Health Minister Robin Swann

“If there are measures available that will reduce preventable deaths, help people live longer, healthier lives then, as Health Minister, I must advocate for them,” said Mr Swann.

On 20th March the Bill started in the House of Commons, currently in its second reading, before progressing to Committee Stage.

Under the bill, enforcement officers’ powers would be strengthened with ‘on the spot fines’ of £100 to uphold new laws and clamp down on underage sales of tobacco and vaping products.

The UK Government’s plans also include a ban on disposable vapes, with the proposed ban anticipated to be progressed under environmental legislation in GB, while the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is considering the next steps for Northern Ireland.

However, the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) said a ban on disposable vapes would only fuel illicit sales, with National President Muntazir Dipoti stating that banning disposable vapes would “not help people give up smoking and vaping” and would “fuel the illicit market”.