Back in February 2016, the Department of Health (DOH) was granted authority by the Northern Ireland Assembly, to generate regulations that would restrict the accessibility of nicotine products such as e-cigarettes, to minors.
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Last Thursday, a report presented at a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Health and Community Committee, held in Strabane, highlighted a new legislation. This new law includes two offences. The first is selling nicotine products to a person under 18, and the second is purchasing such a product on behalf of a minor.
The report highlighted that anyone caught infringing these regulations will face a fixed fine of £250. Any offenders who fail to pay this fine, will be referred to court where they might face fines up to £5,000. Additionally, any repeat offenders whether individuals or businesses, could receive a Restricted Sales Order or a Restricted Premises Order from the court. This would deny them the right of selling such products for as much as three years.
The report pointed out that the “use of e-cigarettes has grown significantly in popularity in the past five years’ and that ‘while the Department of Health (DoH) accepts that they may have a role to play in harm reduction, it is concerned by evidence which shows they are being used by children and young people”.
To ban or not to ban?
Additionally, a study conducted last year, by a Professor of Criminology from Durham University which addressed behavioural patterns in adolescents in relation to vaping, found that “young people do not consider vaping as a nicotine-inhaling method”. The study had concluded that only 28% of the observed adolescents used e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, while the rest of them consider it a fun hobby unrelated to smoking. The latter tend to refrain from using nicotine-containing e-liquids in their devices.
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