It is not lawful to sell tobacco products or cause them to be sold by retail other than from a registered premises. The HSE maintains a register of all persons to carry on in whole or in part, the business of selling tobacco by retail.  The HSE may charge persons registered an amount to defray the cost of operation.  Persons who commence this business must apply for registration.  The application is made in writing in accordance with a prescribed format.

A person convicted of an offence under the legislation relating to the sale of tobacco products may have the registered premised and other premises of which he has registered removed from the register for a certain period.  After the expiry of the period, he may be eligible to reregister.  The periods of removal from the registered depend on the nature of the offence and whether it is tried summarily or with jury on indictment.

It is an offence to sell cigarettes by retail in packets containing less than 20 cigarettes.  It is an offence to manufacture, import, supply, sell or invite to purchase an oral smokeless  tobacco product.  It is an offence to sell confectionaries which is designed to resemble a tobacco product.

It is an offence to import sell, supply or invite for sale a tobacco product which does not bear the packaging and warnings required by law, does not bear the lot  or batch number of origins, and particulars of the manufacturer.

It is an offence to supply any tobacco product free of charge for the purpose of promoting it.  It is an offence to supply a voucher, coupon or other document intended as payment or exchange for a tobacco product.

Tobacco products must comply with standards prescribed by regulations. The standards may relate to their manufacture, importation, distribution and sale.

A manufacturer or importer must provide the authorities with information regarding tobacco products required by a notice in writing.  It may require the manufacturer or importer to carry out such tests or specified in the notice.  It must allow persons specified to attend if so required.

The HSE may publish results of tests.  It must give 21 days\’ notice to the manufacturer or importer in which time, the latter may apply to the High Court on the basis that the publication of the results of the tests would  disclose secret manufacturing processes.

It is an offence for the packaging of a tobacco product or printed material attaching to or accompanying it to assert that

  • smoking does not cause life-threatening diseases
  • that smoking or consumption of one brand or class of products is less harmful than smoking or consumption of others
  • that smoking is not addictive
  •  that filters attached to, additives or other ingredients render less harmful than tobacco products that  do not have a filter or bear the words light, ultra-light, mild or low tar or words as may be prescribed that imply it is less harmful than other tobacco products or brands.

It is an offence to sell tobacco products by retail self-service.  The Minister may prescribe regulations regarding the manner of sale of tobacco products by vending machines on licensed premises or registered clubs or by persons specified in regulations who must nonetheless be registered in respect of licensed premise is concerned.

A person registered in the register must ensure tobacco products sold by him or her or kept in a closed container or dispenser that is not visible or accessible to any person other than the retailer or his employees.

The registration number must be affixed to the container, dispenser or vending machine.  Subject to requirements in relation to price indications, no notice or sign or display shall be displayed, nor shall a leaflet, pamphlet or brochures shall be issued at any place indicating that products may be purchased at the premises concerned.

A sign must be displayed at the premises in such manner as may be prescribed by regulations informing the public that tobacco products may be sold to persons over 18 and providing such other information as may be prescribed.  Breach of any of the above constitutes an offence.

There are special provisions for persons carrying on the business of selling tobacco products or associated products used for smoking by retail exclusively, not being a subsidiary of a business but does not carry on the sale of tobacco exclusively.  A certificate may be issued limiting the application of the above provision to the premises.

The Minister may make regulations in relation to tobacconist  shops including the minimum size of the premises, that they must not form part of other premises in which other products are sold, the proportion of products that may be sold in the form of cigarettes, form of application and fees payable.

The certificate may be revoked for breach of the regulations or in certain other circumstances.

It is an offence to sell tobacco by retail or to supply a tobacco product or invite a person to purchase a tobacco product who is under the age of 18 years.  It is a defence for the person to prove he made all reasonable efforts to satisfy himself that  the person concerned had attained the age of 18 years or that the person produced an ID card so confirming.

It is mandatory to display at premises in which in whole or in part to smoking of tobacco products is permitted to which the public has access, either as of right or with the permission of the owner, a sign indicating those parts of the premises at which smoking is permitted and those in which it is not permitted.  The sign shall display the name of the occupier and the person in charge of the premises and the name of a person to whom the complaint may be made. A no-smoking sign is required in a public service vehicle.

In the above cases, the owner or occupier in charge of the premises is guilty of an offence for contravention.  Similarly, the owner or person in charge of a public service vehicle is guilty of an offence for breach.

The legislation permits the health authorities to appoint, authorized officers to enforce the legislation.  They may enter premises at all reasonable time where they have reasonable grounds for believing any trade in connection with the manufacture, processing, disposal, importation, distribution, sales, storage, packaging or label of a tobacco product is carried or records relating to it are kept.  The power extends to physical premises, ships, cars, aircraft, railway, et cetera.

Authorised officers  may take copies of books, records, documents et cetera.  It may remove them as may be reasonably necessary for enforcement. They  may carry out searches on the premises including searches of equipment and checks of tobacco products.  They may require persons at the premises to give assistance and information together with books and records.  Samples may be taken.

They may direct a tobacco product which they  believed with reasonable grounds to contravene a provision of legislation not to be sold without consent.  They may secure the premises, take and remove for analysis any tobacco product or substance in connection with its manufacture processing or storage and detain it as necessary.

An officer may not enter a dwelling house without a warrant or the consent of the owner.  An application may be made to the District Court for a warrant where there are grounds for believing that relevant materials are present.

Authorized officers may make samples of tobacco products or substances used in their manufacture, processing or storage.  Samples are to be provided in three parts, put in containers and sealed.  One is to be offered to the owner or person in charge, one is to be retained and the other is to be forwarded for analysis.

Certain presumptions in relation to proceedings under the legislation.  Certificates of a laboratory of analysis of materials is evidence of the matters stated in the certificate until the contrary is shown. .It is an offence to obstruct, interfere with or refuse to cooperate with an authorized officerA


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