Finland Assembly to Consider Sweeping Anti-Smoking Legislation

Published on April 15th, 2010 09:13

In the beginning of 2010, Finnish legislators announced their intention to elaborate a bill to crack down smoking in the country altogether. So, now, as the Parliament starts its spring session, the wide-ranging anti-smoking legislation is prepared, pending the consideration and vote. According to the officials, if approved this bill be in the headlines across the world. It would be a rather groundbreaking legislation, eliminating the habit of 18 percent of Finnish population.

And the tobacco industry could not ignore such a threat from the Finland lawmakers. They are shocked by the major objective of the landmark bill: to put an end to smoking in Finland by 2040, by reducing the smokers’ rate to such a diminutive number, that it stops being a health risk and cause of preventable deaths. The world’s leading tobacco company Philip Morris International and its subdivision in Finland have already filled a complaint regarding this issue to the Finland Council of Justice.

Marju Vähimaa, chairman of PMF claimed that the aims and strategies of the anti-smoking measure considered by the Parliament are barely realistic, and the bill as a whole could have unforeseen effects, so they industry can not stay aside of it. Philip Morris Finland joined forces with major rivals on Finnish market Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco to prepare a lawsuit in case the bill is approved.

The first paragraph of the 2010 Tobacco Act, due to be considered by the lawmakers, states that its objective is the elimination of tobacco consumption, since such products include harmful and addictive chemicals.

Finnish tobacco legislation

Seeking to become the first non-smoking nation across the globe, Finland legislators introduced such rigorous provisions to the act that it would be the strictest anti-smoking legislation ever seen in Europe, and this is definitely a reason to be concerned for tobacco industry.

Finland has always been one step further in anti-smoking policies, with a prohibition on direct advertisements of tobacco products being implemented back in 1976. The country was as well one of the first nations to ban lighting up in work places in 1995.

The bill comprises a ban on the point-of-sale display, and though such measure is not a one-of-a-kind, Finnish bill will be a blanket one, meaning smokers will have to ask the salesperson whether they sell tobacco, and then select the needed product from the list given by the seller.

In Finland both sales and possession of tobacco products by minors under 18 is an illegal activity. Moreover, under the Tobacco Act, smoking will be banned in all places were minors under 18 are present, including parks, beaches, outdoor events, vehicles and even residential complexes.

In accordance with the proposed bill, smoking will also be permitted only in a small number of hotel rooms. In addition, the proposal will ban tobacco vending machines and the sales of smokeless tobacco products. Any individual or business found to violate the provisions of the considered Act will be sentenced to a prison term, varying according to the degree of violation.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved.

Related tags: europe | smoking | ban tobacco | smokeless tobacco products

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