The Finnish Ministry for Social Affairs and Health is set to propose legislation that will see the country pursue a course to a tobacco-free society. If passed, the new laws would make Finland the world’s first country dedicated to eradicating tobacco use.
The Finnish parliament was presented with a draft proposal by the Ministry last Thursday and is expected to discuss the new legislation in the coming days, SIKUnews reports.
Ismo Tuominen, one of the authors of the proposal, has stressed that tobacco will not become an illegal product, and its use will not be criminalised. Rather, a number of new measures to restrict public use and visibility will be coupled with existing legislation to ensure tobacco usage is minimised.
Tuominen cited Ireland as an example of greater restrictions saying: “In Ireland in July, it became a requirement to hide tobacco products under counters…We’re following that example.” The display of tobacco is also illegal in Iceland and parts of Canada.
He also went on to suggest that existing parliamentary measures aimed at merely reducing smoking were a tacit approval of tobacco. Tuominen argued that a strong government-supported stance on ending tobacco use would be the best option.
Such a stance includes increasing the minimum age of purchase for tobacco to 18 and the banning of all tobacco displays in shops. Further legislation would make smoking illegal in vehicles carrying children, whilst minors will not be able to possess, sell, or bring tobacco into the country. The tobacco industry is expected to strongly oppose any bans.