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Cigarette vending machines in pubs, hotels to be banned


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Around 6,000 cigarette vending machines in pubs and hotels are to be outlawed by Health Minister Simon Harris.

He also intends to bring in a law to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s.

The vending machine ban will cost around 160-200 jobs, warned John O'Brien of the Irish Cigarette Machine Operators Association.

He said around 40 to 50 mainly family owned small businesses operate the machines.

"The proposal to ban the machines was in the Programme for Government. However, we are selling legal products to adults only," he pointed out.

There is a possibility that cigarette vending machine operators will consider a legal challenge.

The cigarette vending machine can only be worked with a token which a customer has to get from bar staff in order to prove they are not under-age.

However, the minister said: "Cigarettes are killing people and causing misery. It is also of huge impact to the economy.

"I don't believe you should be able to buy tobacco from a vending machine."

Draft legislation is to be brought to Government shortly with the aim of banning the machines.

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He will also ban the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s amid concern young people are taking up the habit and becoming addicted to nicotine.

He also claimed e-cigarette companies are marketing the product to make them appealing to young people with colours and flavours.


Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Nicotine is believed to be harmful to the developing brain and other organs of the body.

E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.

The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.

They work by heating a liquid that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings.

Mr Harris insisted he has shown an "appetite" to take on vested interests in areas of public health.

"We now have more people in Ireland who have quit smoking," he said.

The HSE's official advice is that e-cigarettes are still fairly new "so we don't yet know how safe they are or if they help people stop smoking".

"Because of this, we don't recommend e-cigarettes to help you quit smoking," the HSE said.

It added that "it is better to use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). NRT is safe and doubles your chance of quitting successfully".

"You can also get prescription treatments to help you quit smoking.

"People using NRT and prescription treatments together to quit smoking can increase their chances of success by more than three and a half times," it added.

A number of deaths, and several hundred patients who have been diagnosed with lung disease, were recently linked to vaping in the US.

But the precise association, if any, is still unclear and a full analysis is still required.

Doctors in Ireland have not reported seeing similar complications from vaping here.

The Healthy Ireland Survey reported that 4pc of the Irish population currently use e-cigarettes and a further 12pc have tried them at some point.

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