Cancer Focus NI welcomes inclusion of Northern Ireland in new smokefree laws and urges Assembly approval

Health Minister Robin Swann MLA confirmed today that Northern Ireland is set to be included in Westminster’s Tobacco and Vapes Bill, subject to approval by the NI Assembly. The proposed legislation follows the UK-wide Smokefree Generation Consultation held in late 2023, and it will make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009. It will also enable further regulatory measures to address youth vaping.

Responding to the news, Naomi Thompson, Health Improvement Manager at Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, says:

“We’re very delighted to see the steps Minister Swann has taken, and now encourage the NI Assembly to support NI’s inclusion in the Smokefree Generation Bill which will ensure the next generation of young people in Northern Ireland can be free from nicotine addiction, reducing their risk of cancers and other health conditions later in life due to smoking.  We also encourage DAERA to take forward a ban on disposable vapes which will help reduce the pathway into nicotine use for young people.  This is great news to start No Smoking Month which is a time many smokers consider quitting smoking and can get help to do so in their local Stop Smoking Service.”

Read the full announcement from the Department of Health here.

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland welcomes the inclusion of Northern Ireland within the smokefree laws, which should work to protect future generations from the harms of tobacco. Smoking is the single most entirely preventable cause of ill-health, disability, and death in the UK. In Northern Ireland, it is responsible for approximately 35,000 hospital admissions and 2,200 deaths each year. Cancer Focus NI urges the NI Assembly to approve this legislation as a step to reduce risks of cancer and other diseases across NI.