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Home \Legislation by Country \Ireland \  Summary
Last updated: August 31st 2015


Ireland became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on February 5, 2006.

Smoke Free Places: Smoking is prohibited in indoor workplaces, public places, and on public transportation, with limited exceptions. The following places are exempted from the nearly comprehensive smoking ban: prisons; hotel guestrooms; and living accommodations in higher education facilities. In these places, managers, owners, or operators may designate smoking rooms. Smoking is also restricted in outdoor places with a roof and more than 50 percent of the perimeter surrounded by one or more walls.

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship: The law provides for a comprehensive ban on advertising and promotion of tobacco products with a few limited exceptions, such as allowing point of sale advertising at shops that sell only tobacco. Although financial or other sponsorship by the tobacco industry is not prohibited, publicity of the sponsorship of events is prohibited.

Tobacco Packaging and Labeling: Smoked tobacco products must display one of two text-only general warnings, occupying not less than 32 percent of the front side of the package, and one of 14 graphic health warnings, occupying not less than 45 percent of the back side of the package. The text of warnings must be printed in black type on a white background, surrounded by a 3mm to 4mm border. Tobacco for oral use, other than chewing tobacco, may not be sold in Ireland. Chewing tobacco products must display one text warning, occupying not less than 32 percent of the most visible surface of the package. Misleading packaging and labeling, which could include terms such as “light” and “low tar” and other signs, is prohibited. Legislation requiring standardized (plain) packaging will be implemented in May 2016.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control Legislation: The Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002 is the primary law governing smoking in public places, workplaces, and on public transport; tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship; and tobacco packaging and labeling. The Act was amended by the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2004, which mandated smoke free workplaces and strengthened tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship restrictions in order to implement Directive 2003/33/EC regarding advertising promotion and sponsorship. The PHA 2002 was later amended by the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2009, which revised provisions regarding penalties, exemptions from the advertising ban, registration of tobacco sellers and exemptions from retail offenses; and by the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2010, which replaced the Office of Tobacco Control with the Health Service Executive.

Public Health (Tobacco) (Product Information) Regulations 2009 and Public Health (Tobacco) (Self Service Vending Machines) Regulations 2009 were promulgated to implement provisions of the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2004. Tobacco Products (Control of Advertising, Sponsorship and Sales Promotion) Regulations 1991 (S.I. No. 326 of 1991) were promulgated under an earlier tobacco control law and regulate advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products. These regulations were substantially revised by amendments adopted in 1996, 2000, 2009, and 2012. 

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland General Commercial Communications Code and European Communities (Audiovisual Media Services) Regulations 2010 (S.I. No. 258/2010) regulate broadcasting and other audiovisual media and implement the Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010.

The Public Health (Tobacco) (General and Combined Warnings) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 656 of 2011) were issued in December 2011 and require graphic health warnings on new smoked tobacco products placed on the market as of February 1, 2013. Prior to these regulations, the European Communities (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco Products) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 425 of 2003) were the principal regulations governing tobacco product packaging and labeling. However, the European Communities (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco Products) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 655 of 2011) revoked the main regulation governing health warnings contained in the 2003 Regulations to make room for the new regulations requiring graphic health warnings.  Other requirements in the 2003 Regulations remain in effect. These regulations were amended by the European Communities (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco Products) (Amendment) Regulations 2008, which mandates that health warnings be displayed in both English and Irish and increased the size of warnings, among other things. The Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Act 2015 was passed in March 2015 and, once implemented in May 2016, will require standardized (plain) packaging.

Various commencement orders set out dates on which provisions of the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002 and 2004 come into force.

Review Status

This country’s legal measures were reviewed by our legal staff in consultation with in-country lawyers or tobacco control experts.

The materials and analysis available at this website are for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.