Regulation of e-cigarettes among new EU tobacco rules signed into law

Health Minister says new European Tobacco Products Directive will "help to drive down consumption of tobacco"

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File photo. Picture by: Anthony Devlin / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Health Minister has signed the new European Tobacco Products Directive into Irish law.

The new rules replace the previous EU directive, which was agreed in 2001.

Some of the the new measures addressed in the regulations include a ban on cigarettes & tobacco with 'characterising flavours', as well as barring products with certain additives. It also bans misleading labelling such as 'organic' or 'natural'.

The directive also contains new rules on electronic cigarettes, such as the regulation of the devices and refill containers. It also introduces stricter rules on advertising & sponsorship for e-cigarette products.

Health Minister Simon Harris said: "These measures will further complement the tobacco control initiatives already in place and will help to drive down consumption of tobacco and protect public health. I also welcome the clarity provided on the regulation of e-cigarettes, which will give confidence to users in the safety and efficacy of these products".

The directive also contains revisions on rules for cigarette packaging, including an increased size for health warnings and a requirement to place them on the front and back of products.

However, the Government is still working to introduce proposed 'plain packaging' legislation.

From today, cigarettes in the UK are to be sold in standardised green packaging with explicit images.

Donal Buggy of the Irish Cancer Society said his organisation was disappointed that prolonged Government negotiations here had delayed a bill to introduce plain packaging.

Minister Harris said: "I am delighted to hear that the UK Government has successfully defended their Standardised Packaging legislation in the courts. I look forward to progressing our Standardised Packaging Regulations in the near future".