Laws to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children will be approved by the Cabinet this morning.
The changes will also see a ban on the advertising of nicotine products near schools and on public transport.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly expects the legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s to be passed before the Dáil's summer recess.
The number of retailers which can sell vaping products will also be reduced - for example, banning them in vending machines or at events for children.
Advertising near schools and on public transport will also be prohibited.
Retailers who breach the legislation will face suspension periods or fines.
A number of other European countries - including Belgium, France and Germany - have already introduced a ban, and the Department of Health here is concerned vaping is a gateway to smoking.
It cites research from 2018 and 2019 which suggests one in ten children aged 12 to 17 vape, while 15% of 15 and 16-year-olds have used e-cigarettes.
There is currently no mandatory age restriction on the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes.
'I'm really shocked at the manner in which it's been marketed at young people.' Tánaiste Micheál Martin as Cabinet look to approve a law which will ban the sale of e-cigarettes to children.
📷: @kearns_aoife pic.twitter.com/uQ5SVUnYIf
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) May 30, 2023
'Marketed as a safer alternative'
Irish Medical Times columnist Dr Chris Luke told Newstalk Breakfast this legislation will reduce “concerns about vaping”.
“People like me have been worried for at least 10 years about the potential for nicotine addiction amongst youngsters,” he said.
Dr Luke said vaping among those under-18 has risen to 40% in the UK, and the figures are likely the same in Ireland.
“The problem is with vaping is that it has been sold or marketed very successfully as a much safer alternative to smoking,” he said.
“It is better than just counselling or nicotine replacement therapy, but we're increasingly seeing that the impact of long-term vaping on youngsters’ lungs and in terms of people preceding to smoke".
Reporting by: Sean Defoe and Jack Quann