Ireland to Set Minimum Age for Tobacco Sales to 21

It will be the highest age limit in the European Union.

May 17, 2024

In a first for the European Union, Ireland is reportedly planning to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco to 21, reported Barron’s.

According to draft legislation, government officials said the proposed law to increase the age from 18 to 21 has been approved by the cabinet. It will not impact the minimum legal age to purchase vapes, which was set at 18 last December.

According to Irish health minister Stephen Donnelly, who announced the measure, U.S. evidence shows that increasing the age of sale to 21 "will act to limit the social sources of cigarettes" to young people, Barron’s wrote.

In 2004, Ireland became the first EU member to introduce an indoor smoking ban, and many other countries followed suit.

Additionally, Latvia introduced a law that will increase its minimum age to purchase tobacco to 20 in 2025, Barron’s reported.

Last month, the House in the United Kingdom passed a bill banning tobacco sales for anyone born after 2009 in a move to create a “smoke-free generation,” reported NACS Daily. The bill will raise the age of tobacco sales by one year every year, with the aim of stopping today’s young people from ever taking up smoking. The House of Lords is expected to vote on the bill for final approval in June.

Other countries have implemented strict anti-tobacco laws in recent years, including Mexico, which approved a total ban on public smoking last year, wrote Forbes. The Portuguese government released plans last May that will extend a ban on public smoking and limit tobacco sales to create a “tobacco-free generation” by 2040.

In the United States, Brookline, Massachusetts, a town located just outside of Boston, adopted a bylaw in 2020 that bans the sale of tobacco to anyone born in the 21st century. The bylaw is the first of its kind in the country and was upheld by the state’s highest court.