Finland has this week enacted the strictest anti-smoking laws in the world, which aim to phase out the habit altogether by preventing teenagers from ever lighting up. The legislation, which was put into force on Friday 1st October, seeks to make the country smoke-free by limiting the availability and visibility of tobacco products rather than an outright ban.
“We’re no longer giving tobacco tacit approval,” said Ismo Tuominen, a Ministerial Counsellor at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, in a report by YLE.
“The goal of the old law was to decrease smoking, which accepted that tobacco was a part of our life. This doesn’t make much sense as tobacco is the underlying cause of a large portion of premature deaths,” Tuominen said, adding that “Tobacco would be banned if it was introduced in this day and age.”
Tuominen is hoping that other European Union states will soon follow Finland’s lead, as the tough measures are expected to grab headlines worldwide. According to the counsellor, Finland has only been able to introduce such legislation as the country does not have its own tobacco industry.
International tobacco firms are said to be fuming over the news.