Estonian ministry steps up fight against smoking

Estonia’s Ministry of Social Affairs is seeking opinions on a draft tobacco law which foresees graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and a ban on indoor smoking areas without walls, among other things.

“Tobacco product packages are an influential marketing tool. Graphic warnings will raise smokers’ and above all young people and minors’ awareness that smoking damages health and also motivate them to give it up,” Minister of Health and Labor Rannar Vassiljev explained. “I believe that realistic pictures will diminish everyone’s wish to pick up a cigarette pack. I hope the new approach is also conducive to not starting next to dropping the habit.”

Picture health warnings will be obligatory on packages of cigarettes, smoking tobacco and waterpipe tobacco, spokespeople for the ministry said. So far only warning texts have been used on packages.

The bill also envisions a ban on indoor smoking areas without walls from 2017. Abolition of smoking areas has been recommended also by the World Health Organization. The organization has said there is no such thing as harmless tobacco smoke content in air.

The draft law further proposes to make prisons and their territories smoke-free so as to help inmates kick the habit and protect their and employees’ health.

The bill was sent for consideration to the Justice Ministry, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Finance Ministry, Health Board, association of tobacco manufacturers and justice chancellor.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

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