Northern Ireland - Must Be 18 to Buy Cigarettes..

September 1, 2008 - as of today (9/1/2008)Northern Ireland has joined the other three United Kingdom (UK) countries raising age for sale of tobacco from 16 to 18.
The Assembly passed the required legislation at the end of June, just before the summer recess.

The change in the law is part of the drive by the North's Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to reduce smoking among young people, which is not prohibited by law. A recent study showed that some nine per cent of the 11-16 age group are smokers in Northern Ireland - a figure which has been reduced from 13.5 per cent as the anti-smoking message gradually gets through. The minister said although he believed the sale ban was necessary, he hoped young people would decide for themselves not to smoke. Mr McGimpsey has also extended to Northern Ireland a Department of Health consultation seeking views on the future of tobacco controls, including those likely to impact on children’s smoking such as advertising at point of sale and access to tobacco vending machines. The consultation ends on September 8th.

The Republic of Ireland introduced a similar ban four years ago - in 2004.

Reference: NI introduces prohibition on cigarette sale, RTE News, 8/31/2008 and Tobacco sales to unders 18s banned in NI,, 9/1/2008.