The age limit includes a measure that prohibits anyone of age to purchase any of the banned products on behalf of minors.
Among the new restrictions set in place, is a tobacco age limit (which also applies to e-cigarettes) set at 18 years. This means that as of February 1st, retailers in Northern Ireland are not allowed to sell tobacco and nicotine products to anyone under the age of 18.

The age limit includes a measure that prohibits anyone of age to purchase any of the banned products on behalf of minors. “It is an offence for an adult to buy, or try to buy, any tobacco products or, from 1 February 2022, nicotine inhaling products (including e-cigarettes/ vapes) on behalf of someone under the age of 18 (known as proxy purchasing),” reads a government announcement.

Other restrictions set in place specifically for retailers of the products, include a requirement to register centrally and a ban on displaying the products in their outlets. The government website listed the fixed penalty notices and maximum fines for each offence as follows:

  • “smoking in smoke-free premises, work vehicles, or from 1 February 2022, smoke-free private vehicles: a fixed penalty notice of £50 (reduced to £30 if paid in 15 days) for the person smoking, or a maximum fine of £1,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
  • permitting smoking in a smoke-free place or work vehicle if you have management responsibilities: a maximum fine of £2,500 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
  • from 1 February 2022, a driver permitting smoking in a smoke-free private vehicle: a fixed penalty notice of £50 for the driver, or a maximum fine of £2,500 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
  • failure to display no-smoking signs: a fixed penalty notice of £200 (reduced to £150 if paid in 15 days) for whoever manages or occupies the smoke-free premises or work vehicle, or a maximum fine of £1,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
  • selling tobacco products or, from 1 February 2022, nicotine inhaling products (including e-cigarettes/vapes) to a person under the age of 18: a fixed penalty notice of £250, or a maximum fine of £5,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
  • an adult buying, or attempting to buy, tobacco products or, from 1 February 2022, nicotine inhaling products (including e-cigarettes/ vapes) on behalf of a person under the age of 18: a fixed penalty notice of £250, or a maximum fine of £5,000 if prosecuted and convicted by a court
  • Local councils are primarily responsible for providing advice and enforcing the smoke-free and tobacco/ nicotine age of sale restrictions in Northern Ireland.”

Similar restrictions in the Republic of Ireland

Meanwhile in mainland Ireland, the new Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill, has also set in place the tobacco age limit at 18. Moreover it has proposed a ban on the sales of tobacco products from temporary premises, events or locations attended by children. During discussions related to the ban, Siobhain Brophy from the Tobacco & Alcohol Control Unit told the Oireachtas (or legislature of Ireland) Health Committee that since 38% of people who try to quit smoking use e-cigarettes, banning them completely would have negative consequences.

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