CIGARETTE MACHINES are set to be banned as well as the sale of vapes to persons under the age of 18 in Ireland.
Health Minister Simon Harris brought the two moves before Cabinet on Tuesday and received the unanimous backing of his ministerial colleagues.
The new regulations are part of the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill, which has now been introduced.
"I am pleased to be bringing forward this important piece of legislation which will help us achieve a tobacco free Ireland, where our children can grow up without harm from tobacco," said Harris.
"Tobacco costs the Irish exchequer a total of €10.6 billion every year and 6,000 deaths a year are caused by smoking. I am determined to continue to make the necessary legislative changes to confront this challenge and help reach our goal of being Tobacco Free.
"The measures in relation to nicotine inhaling products recognises that these products are not ordinary consumer goods but products that contain a highly addictive substance which should not be available to children."
"As the industry continues to adapt, we must ensure it is not able to lure our children into this deadly addiction."
For a number of years, Irish Health Ministers have been taking a firm stance in the fight against tobacco and Harris follows former ministers Leo Varadkar and James Reilly in that respect.
News of the new bill has been celebrated by health organisations and charities across the country, and has even been welcomed by the vapes retailers’ lobby, Vape Business Ireland, who said they "fully support" restrictions on the sale of these products to people who are underage.
Chris Macey of the Irish Heart Foundation urged that more needs be done to properly tackle the issue of underage smoking and called for further action to be taken.
"We know from our experience with youth smoking that a ban on sales to minors alone will not work. It is vital that in tandem with this measure a blanket ban is applied on the advertising of e-cigarettes to all age groups," he said.