Last updated: December 15, 2020
Sale of e-cigarettes
The sale of e-cigarettes is allowed provided that they meet certain criteria, including but not limited to device requirements, packaging requirements, and maximum nicotine concentration.
Use in indoor public places, workplaces, and public transport
There is no national law addressing the use of e-cigarettes in indoor public places, workplaces, or public transport; therefore, in general the use of e-cigarettes is allowed in these places.
However, the Health Service Executive has banned the use of e-cigarettes in all health service facilities. Additionally, a number of public transport providers such as Bus Eireann, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail have banned the use of e-cigarettes in their vehicles.
Advertising and promotion (excluding point of sale product display)
The law prohibits advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes and refill containers with certain exceptions. These exceptions include trade publications and publications not principally intended for the European Union market where such publications are printed and published in third countries.
Point of sale product display
The law does not address point of sale product display; therefore, point of sale product display is allowed.
Sale of e-cigarettes via the internet
The law requires cross-border retail sellers of e-cigarettes and refill containers (those located in Ireland and targeting a market outside Ireland but within the EU, as well as those located outside Ireland but within the EU and targeting Ireland) to register with the Health Service Executive. Retailers cannot sell e-cigarettes or refill containers via the internet to consumers located in an EU Member State where such sales are prohibited.
In addition, the law requires that commercial communications on websites not have the aim or the direct or indirect effect of promoting e-cigarettes or refill containers.
Flavors (other than tobacco flavor)
The law does not address flavors in e-cigarettes; therefore, the use of flavors in e-cigarettes is allowed.
The law prohibits e-liquids containing the following additives:
(a) vitamins or other additives that create the impression that a tobacco product has a health benefit or presents reduced health risks;
(b) caffeine, taurine, other additives or stimulant compounds that are associated with energy and vitality;
(c) additives having coloring properties for emissions;
(d) for tobacco products for smoking, additives that facilitate inhalation or nicotine uptake; and
(e) additives that have CMR properties in unburnt form.
In addition, the law requires that e-liquids contain only ingredients of high purity and, with the exception of nicotine, contain only ingredients that do not pose a risk to human health in heated or unheated form.
Health warnings on product packaging
The law requires a text health warning in both Irish and English on each unit packet and any outside packaging for e-cigarettes or refill containers. The health warning reads: “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance.”
The health warning must cover 32% of the two largest surfaces of the unit packet and any outside packaging. The warning text must be centered, parallel to the main text, and printed in black Helvetica bold type on a white background, at such a font size as to occupy the greatest possible proportion of the surface reserved for the health warning.
Other product packaging and labeling requirements
The law prohibits any packaging and labeling of e-cigarettes or refill containers, including texts, symbols, names, trademarks, figurative or other signs, that:
- promotes an e-cigarette or refill container or encourages its consumption by containing information or statements that create an erroneous impression in relation to the characteristics, health effects, risks or emissions of an e-cigarette or refill container;
- suggests that an e-cigarette or refill container is less harmful than other e-cigarettes or refill containers;
- suggests that an e-cigarette or refill container has vitalizing, energetic, healing, rejuvenating, natural or organic properties, or that it has health or lifestyle benefits;
- makes any reference to the taste, smell or other additives (except flavorings) or absence thereof in the product;
- resembles a food or a cosmetic product; or
- suggests that the e-cigarette or refill container has improved biodegradability or other environmental advantages.
In addition to health warnings, all unit packaging of e-cigarettes and refill containers must include a leaflet with the following information: instructions for storage, use, and refill; contra-indications; warnings for specific groups; possible adverse effects; and addictiveness and toxicity.
Maximum nicotine concentration
The law imposes a maximum nicotine concentration for e-liquids of 20 mg/ml.
The law imposes limits on tank and refill container volume. Any single use cartridges or tanks must not exceed a volume of 2 ml; refill containers must not exceed a volume of 10 ml.
The law also requires e-cigarettes and refill containers to be child and tamper-proof; to be protected against breakage and leakage; and to have a mechanism that ensures refilling without leakage.
The law sets out certain requirements with respect to refill mechanisms. Refill mechanisms must use securely attached nozzles at least 9 mm long which are narrower than and slot comfortably into the opening of the tank of the e-cigarette. The flow mechanism must emit no more than 20 drops of refill liquid per minute when placed vertically and subjected to an atmospheric pressure alone at 20°C ± 5°C. Alternately, the refill mechanism may operate by means of a docking system which only releases refill liquids into the tank of the e-cigarette when the e-cigarette and refill container are connected.
Manufacturer/importer disclosures and/or notification requirements
The law requires manufacturers and importers to notify the Health Service Executive at least six months in advance of placing an e-cigarette or refill container on the market, and for each substantial modification of a product. The notifications must include a list of ingredients in and emissions resulting from use of the product, as well as toxicological data on ingredients and emissions and information on nicotine doses and uptake under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions.
In addition, manufacturers and importers are required to submit annual reports detailing sales data, information on the preferences of various consumer groups, mode of sale, and summaries of any market surveys carried out on any of the above.