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Nicotine-inhaling Products

Volume 589: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2014

The Government have today published “Age of Sale for Nicotine-inhaling Products-consultation on proposed regulations to be made under the Children and Families Act 2014”

In February 2014, the Government took regulation-making powers in the Children and Families Act 2014 to enable regulations to be made to prohibit the sale of nicotine products to persons under the age of 18. The proposed regulations cover “nicotine-inhaling devices” which are defined as any device which is intended to enable nicotine- to be inhaled through a mouthpiece but is not tobacco, cigarette papers or a device intended for the consumption of lit tobacco. It encompasses electronic cigarettes. The proposed regulations also cover refill cartridges and nicotine liquids intended to be used to refill nicotine inhaling devices.

The proposed regulations would:

make it an offence to sell nicotine-inhaling products, such as electronic cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 18, with certain limited exceptions;

extend the existing offence of the proxy purchase of tobacco (at section 91 of the Children and Families Act) to cover nicotine-inhaling products, so that it would also be an offence for an adult to buy an e-cigarette on behalf of a child under 18 years, subject to limited exceptions; and

exempt the sale of any nicotine-inhaling product that is licensed as a medicine, where it has been prescribed to a child and is sold under certain conditions, or where the medicine is indicated in its licence for therapeutic use by children.

The Government want to protect children and young people from addiction to any substance, particularly those that might be harmful to health. Given the rapid emergence of e-cigarettes in recent years, coupled with concerns about the increased awareness and use of these products by children, the Government are committed to setting an age of sale requirement.

The consultation on the draft regulations will run for six weeks until 28 January 2015. I encourage all those with an interest to submit their views on the draft regulations and the accompanying impact assessment.

A copy of “Age of Sale for Nicotine-inhaling Products—consultation on proposed regulations to be made under the Children and Families Act 2014” has been placed in the Library of the House and attachments can be viewed online at: writtenstatements