Finland passes stricter anti-smoking laws

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Helsinki– Tougher anti-smoking laws came into force in Finland on Sunday. Brand images and logos must be removed from the packaging of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and refill containers.

Under previous laws, tobacco products must not be visible in a store and customers must be able to verbally identify the purchase. The unified package formats have a transition time until May 2023, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Finland has phased out smoking since 1976. Smoking in public transport and schools and selling tobacco to those under 16 have been banned. The ban was later extended to all public indoor spaces, including restaurants. From this week, the ban also covers public beaches and playgrounds.

Smoking in rental accommodation has been banned in new contracts for several years, and the ban also applies to balconies. In owned condominium units, the condo company can apply for a municipal ordinance to prohibit smoking in the home. But homeowners can continue to smoke in individual homes they own.

While “characteristic” flavors or flavors such as menthol or strawberry have been illegal for years, the new amendment also prohibits products that consumers themselves can use to alter the flavor. Existing stock can be sold.

Establishment owners can maintain smoking rooms, but laws require expensive, low-pressure, exhaust ventilation that exhausts contaminated air to the roof level of the building.

The legislative change aims to reduce the appeal of tobacco products, especially to young people, and to protect young children from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. It also aims to reduce smoking-related litter and environmental damage, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said. (IANS)