Spotlight on Tobacco Control

In this update, IPH is shining a light on recent developments in tobacco control policy in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the UK and highlighting some of our recent work in this area.

IPH gives evidence on the UK Tobacco & Vapes Bill

Last week members of our policy team attended Stormont to give evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee on the UK Tobacco and Vapes Bill

IPH Director of Policy Dr Helen McAvoy was joined by colleagues, Dr Joanna Purdy and Dr Ciara Reynolds, to give evidence on the Bill which proposes banning the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2009 and also introducing measures to make vapes less appealing and accessible to young people.

Read IPH’s opening statement to the NIA Health Committee


Watch now

Watch the NI Assembly Health Committee recording here 

Policy brief on UK smoke free generation proposals

IPH has published a Policy Brief on the UK Tobacco and Vapes Bill and what it will mean for Northern Ireland in the near future.  The Bill seeks to reduce smoking and tackle vaping among young people and was introduced to the UK Parliament on Wednesday 20 March 2024.  If passed, the law will ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2009 and will also change the way that e-cigarettes or vapes are marketed and sold so that children are less likely to use them.  The Department of Health and Social Care has published an impact assessment and series of factsheets on the Tobacco and Vapes Bill which can be accessed here.

Ireland marks 20 years of smoking ban

Ireland recently marked the 20th anniversary of the world’s first smoking ban. At an event marking the milestone anniversary, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signalled his support for raising the age at which people can buy cigarettes and tobacco products from 18 to 21. A recently published Tobacco 21 report analysed available evidence and made the case for raising the minimum age of sale of tobacco from 18 to 21 years. The T21 report was published by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland’s Policy Group on Tobacco and developed from national and international evidence analysed by the Institute. IPH Director of Policy Dr Helen McAvoy sits on the RCPI Tobacco Policy Group.

In recent weeks further sections of the Public Health (Tobacco Products & Nicotine Inhaling Products) Act 2023 were also commenced. 

The following measures will take effect in Ireland from 23 September 2024:  

  • The provisions include a ban on the sale of tobacco products/nicotine inhaling products at events aimed at children and prohibiting advertising for nicotine inhaling products around cinema films for children, public service vehicles and stops/stations and within 200m of schools.
  • A further provision has come into effect that underpins in law test purchasing operations carried out by the National Environmental Health Service of the HSE on tobacco products and nicotine inhaling products.

More details are available on the Department of Health website.

2023 Activity
Read a 2023 summary of the Institute’s work and activity on tobacco control policy

NI Tobacco Control Strategy: End of Term Review 

IPH supported the End-of-Term Review of the 10-Year Tobacco Control Strategy in Northern Ireland and recently published a suite of reports, including a stakeholder engagement report and reports on second-hand smoke and mental health. 

Access these reports, summaries, and other resources:

Report: End of term Review of the Ten-Year Tobacco Control Strategy for Northern Ireland (2012-2022) - Stakeholder Engagement Report 

An overview of progress on reducing second-hand smoke exposure in Northern Ireland and policy options for the future 

Smoking and Mental Health – An exploration of data in Northern Ireland and scan of policy approaches in the UK and Ireland

Easy Read Summary: Smoking and Mental Health – An exploration of data in Northern Ireland and scan of policy approaches in the UK and Ireland 

Poster: Smoking and Mental Health – An exploration of data in Northern Ireland and scan of policy approaches in the UK and Ireland  
Watch these short videos featuring Dr Ciara Reynolds and Dr Joanna Purdy from IPH’s policy team, who share some insights from the smoking and mental health report:


Smoking and mental health data video


Smoking and mental health policy video
Consultation responses

Consultation Response: Further Regulation of Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products in Ireland 

IPH response to the UK government and devolved administrations’ consultation ‘Creating a smokefree generation and tackling youth vaping’

Submission: Response to public consultation on Disposable Vaping Devices in Ireland

Other work

Other recent examples of our work include giving evidence to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health on the Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill 2019, contributing to a report by the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Policy Group on raising the minimum age of sale of tobacco from 18 to 21 years, and developing Tobacco21 Mythbusters to debunk some of the myths that persist around tobacco. 

Public Health Matters Podcast

On 29th March 2004 Ireland took the bold move to introduce a smoking ban in all public spaces. To mark the 20th anniversary of this ground-breaking policy, IPH is sharing a recent episode of our #PublicHealthMatters podcast where Professor Luke Clancy of the Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland shares his insights into how Ireland introduced the world’s first smoking ban. A doctor, academic and long-time advocate for tougher tobacco control measures, Professor Clancy was a key player in the 1980s smoky coal ban in Dublin and in the 2004 Workplace Smoking Ban. 



Latest resources

17 May, 2024 - The Institute of Public Health (IPH) has welcomed moves to further tighten access to tobacco products in Ireland and Northern Ireland under progressive measures being considered by the Irish…
2 May, 2024 - Northern Ireland Environment Minister Andrew Muir MLA has today announced his intention to prohibit the sale and supply of single use vapes by April 2025, bringing Northern Ireland in parallel with…
1 May, 2024 - The 2024 How We Age Photography Competition seeks to build on the success of IPH's 2022 competition and will this year focus on the theme of 'How We Age: Working, learning, and volunteering in later…