Vaping companies in Ireland may soon face expensive annual licensing fees as part of new legislation being considered by the government. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is reportedly examining the possibility of implementing a €500 license fee per shop that sells e-cigarettes. This fee would apply to each premises separately, meaning that vaping retailers with multiple locations across the country could end up paying thousands of euros per year.
Currently, there is no license system in place to regulate shops selling vaping products. However, once the new legislation is enacted, it is expected that an annual license will be required for each premises. The government aims to prevent pop-up stalls by only issuing licenses to owners who have operated the premises for a minimum of 12 months.
One of the potential consequences of these new laws is a ban on the sale of cigarettes and vapes at music festivals. Additionally, the sale of tobacco products and vapes through self-service methods, including vending machines, will be prohibited. The introduction of a retail licensing system has received broad support from Vape Business Ireland (VBI). However, VBI hopes that the license application process will be feasible and not overly burdensome for business owners.
The government’s focus on preventing youth access to vaping products is evident in recently approved measures, such as the ban on the sale of vaping products to individuals under 18 years old. In addition, advertisements for e-cigarettes near schools and on public transport will also be banned in an effort to discourage the normalization of vaping.
While VBI acknowledges the intention behind these regulations, the organization emphasizes the need for consistent and effective enforcement to ensure that vaping products are only available to adult ex-smokers. VBI suggests that funds collected from the retail licensing system should be allocated to provide more resources to HSE environment health officers. This, they argue, would enable the prompt removal of non-compliant products from the market.
However, VBI also raises concerns about the prohibition on retailers applying for licenses to sell vaping products at temporary or movable premises. They argue that this could limit the prompt access to harm-reduction products for adult ex-smokers, particularly in cases of age-gated events or when retailers possess the necessary license.
Vaping has proven to be a successful tool for more than 200,000 people across Ireland looking to move away from smoking. VBI regrets that these new restrictions may prevent adult ex-smokers from accessing these beneficial products in some situations.
In conclusion, the proposed licensing system for vaping products in Ireland aims to regulate the industry, prevent youth access, and improve the enforcement of compliance. While it has received support from Vape Business Ireland, some concerns have been raised about potential limitations on access to harm-reduction products. The discussions surrounding these new laws will continue as the government aims to find the right balance between regulation and facilitating harm reduction for smokers.
Source: Irish Examiner