The Public Health Tobacco Act 2002 established the Office of Tobacco Control. This office was dissolved and merged into the Health Services Executive by the 2010 legislation.
The Office of Tobacco Control is established in 2002 to implement government tobacco control policy as outlined in the 1999 Joint Oireachtas Committee report. Its function was to advise the Department of Health and implement policies and objectives in relation to the control and regulation of tobacco products.
A 2010 Act provides for the dissolution of the Office of Tobacco Control and the transfer of its functions, members of staff, assets and liabilities to the Health Service Executive from 1 January 2011. It also provides for the preparation of final accounts and report for the Office and the transfer of contracts and pending legal proceedings to the Executive.
Provisions of Act
References to the Office in any act is to be construed as references to the Health Service Executive and for the completion by the Health Service Executive of any function commenced by the Office prior to dissolution.
Tobacco advertising is very tightly regulated. Tobacco advertising on TV and radio is prohibited. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, General Commercial Communications Code prohibits all commercial communications in relation to cigarettes and tobacco on broadcasts in Ireland. This covers advertising, sponsorship, teleshopping and product placement.
EU Directive in 2010 prohibits commercial communication for cigarettes and tobacco products on audio-visual media services.
EU Directive 2003 as implemented in the 2004 legislation prohibits tobacco advertising in domestic printed media, except trade publications. Also prohibited tobacco advertising in domestic printed media including pamphlets, leaflets, fliers, posters and signs. There is an exemption for domestic media or point of sale for shops that sell only tobacco products or other retail shops. that sell tobacco products but not cigarettes.
The EU directive prohibits advertising in information society services. This covers internet services. It applies advertising in information society service originating in or intended for distribution in the EU state. Internet sales are prohibited from providers based in the EU.
Tobacco advertising is prohibited in publications, printed, published or primarily intended for sale or distribution in the EU. Publications printed and published outside the EU and intended for distribution outside the EU are permitted.
The sale of tobacco is permissible only from registered premises. All tobacco selling premises must register. A register of tobacco retailers is held. The sale of tobacco is permissible only from the registered premises. This is interpreted to prohibit the sale of domestic products over the internet, as they are not from premises. Remote access premises of this nature cannot be registered.
Outdoor advertising such as billboards and posters are prohibited. Tobacco advertisement by conventional mail, telephone and mobile phone is prohibited. Advertising is prohibited at the point of sale. This includes every form of recommendation of tobacco products to the public.
There is an exemption to the advertising ban inside at the point of sale for retail businesses that either solely sell tobacco products or in part sell tobacco products but do not sell cigarettes. Pictorial listing including visual images of tobacco packages at duty free shops is permitted.
Tobacco products at the point of sale must be kept in a closed container that is not visible or accessible to the public. Regulations in 2009 allow a retailer to show one packet only of each tobacco product sold or to display a pictorial list of each product sold.
Vending machines in licensed clubs and premises are regulated. They must be in areas of the premises generally attended by in within sight of staff members. Where they are activated by a mechanism provided by staff, the person must verify that the customer is at least 18 years of age.
The legislation does not specifically prohibit band marketing or use of distinctive words, images, logos, sounds or colours to promote tobacco in entertainment venues, retail advertisements and equipment.
2003 regulations prohibit the use on tobacco product packaging of texts, names, brands, trademarks or other designs suggesting a particular tobacco product is less harmful than others.
The sale of sweets that resemble tobacco products is prohibited.
The Broadcast Authority of Ireland Code prohibits commercial communications which include product placement concerning cigarettes and tobacco in broadcast media. The codes make similar provision in respect of audio-visual media services.
The free distribution of tobacco products to the public is prohibited. The Supply of commercial and gifts, token, trading stamps, coupons or other things in relation to or taken as consideration for the purchase of a tobacco product is prohibited.
The giving of financial consideration or other assistance in exchange for the association of an event with a tobacco product manufacturer, brand name, trademark or other logo is prohibited. Direct person to person marketing is prohibited.
Any financial or other contribution in exchange for the promotion, association with or display of a tobacco product names, trademark, images or logos is prohibited.
Tobacco products at the point of sale must be kept in a closed container not visible to the public. Retailer may show a customer one packet only of each tobacco product or display a list of pictorial list products.
The advertising of tobacco products in premises where the business of selling tobacco products by retail is carried on is prohibited. Breach is an offence and the occupier, manager and controller are liable.
Where a person is removed from the register of tobacco, there are periods during which he is ineligible to reapply. It is an offence to sell tobacco from unregistered retail premises.
Regulations may provide that a person selling tobacco products may show a member of the public concerned one packet only or a pictorial list consisting of images of packets, provided that no such image is greater than the size of the packet concerned, that the list does not contain more than one image of the same product and the list or each image contains a warning in a form as may be prescribed.
The Public Health Tobacco (Amendment) Act 2011 allows the Minister to make regulations to introduce combined text and photo warnings on tobacco products.
The Public Health Tobacco Amendment Act 2013 repealed certain provisions of the Tobacco Products (Control of Advertising Sponsorship and Sales Promotion) Act by 1978 and the Public Health Tobacco Act 2002 in respect of activities which are likely to promote the sale of tobacco products.
The Minister is given power to make regulations in respect of activities which are intended or are likely to promote the sale of tobacco products. They may include in particular
- prohibition of sale of any tobacco products at a reduced price to a person on the purchase by that person of any other tobacco product or any other product or service
- prohibition of making available any tobacco product to a person free of charge on the purchase by that person of any tobacco product or other product.
- prohibition on the promotion of any tobacco product to a person at a reduced price or free of charge by the purchase of other tobacco product or other product.
- the prohibition on the sale, making available or promotion of any tobacco product to a person at a reduced price or free of charge for a limited time or period
The Public Health Tobacco Amendment Act 2010 provided for the dissolution of the Office of Tobacco Control. Its functions were transferred to the HSE as of 1, January 2011 as part of cost-saving measures in the context of budgetary adjustments. It assets and labilities were transferred to the HSE. When the accounts are to be prepared and the office was to be wind up.