October 1, 2010 - The Tobacco Act was approved by the Finnish President, Tarja Halonen, on Friday, August 20th. (Finland - president approves new tobacco act, not as strong as people hoped..)
VIDEO - Bloomberg.com: Finland - the Tobacco Act..
The Act enters into force as soon as Friday, October 1, 2010. According to the new tobacco act, smoking among children and adolescents is forbidden. Neither shops nor private persons are allowed to sell or provide tobacco products to a minor under 18 from October 1, 2010. Any person who sells a single cigarette or buys a packet of cigarettes from a shop for a minor can be fined or sentenced to prison for a maximum of six months. According to the new legislation, persons under the age of 18 are banned from importing and possessing tobacco products and importing can attract a fine. In addition, sellers of tobacco products must be aged at least 18 years in the future.
We all hope this law to prevent children from obtaining tobacco will be strictly enforced. Philip Morris International (PMI) has complained in the past that Finland authorities have been lax in enforcement. (Finland - president approves new tobacco act, not as strong as people hoped..)
The prohibition on display of tobacco products as well as the restrictions on smoking in hotel rooms enter into force at the beginning of 2012. The vending machines for tobacco products will be forbidden as from the beginning of 2015.
Bans on smoking will be extended to places used by children and youngsters, the public venues of residential areas, outdoor public places and hotel rooms.
"We know we can never completely end smoking but several civic groups are working under the slogan 'Smoke-free Finland in 2040,'" said Ismo Tuominen from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. "General opinion seems to be in favor of adopting tighter controls."
Tobacco advertising has been banned in Finland for more than 30 years and in 1995 smoking was forbidden in workplaces, public buildings and on public transport, and was extended in 2007 to bars and restaurants. In 2000, a law labeled smoke as "a carcinogenic, hazardous substance." Sales of chewing tobacco and snuff are also banned, but can be imported for personal consumption.
"The idea is to restrict the presence and visibility of tobacco to stop children and youth taking up the habit," Tuominen said. "We hope other countries will follow suit." Young age groups are the ministry's greatest concern. Tuominen said that now more 16-year-old girls smoke than boys of the same age. "It's a worrying trend and we don't really know why it's happening," he said.
Reference: Finland's strict smoke-free law enters into force, Xinhua News Agency - Source: iStockAnalyst, 10/1/2010; Finland Banishes Marlboros From Shelves to Stub Out Smoking by Kati Pohjanpalo (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Nicole Itano (editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Brogger at email@example.com), Bloomberg.com, 10/1/2010.
Finland - some related news briefs:
Finland - ban on smoking on terraces of private apartments overturned..;
Finland - president approves new tobacco act, not as strong as people hoped..;
Finland - Philip Morris destroys 20 million cigarettes - not self-extinguishing..;
Finland - govt can not prevent people from smoking in cars when kids are present..;
Finland - proposal for plain cigarette packaging surfaces again..;
Finland - parliament will soon vote on anti-smoking bill..;
Finland - anti-smoking bill will end smoking altogether..;
Finland - to end the consumption of tobacco products by 2040..;
Finland - extends anti-tobacco law, restricting smoking in cars and ban on cigarette displays..;
Finland - health officials devising more restrictions to fight tobacco use..;
Finland - government proposing ban on smoking when kids present and other tobacco control measures..;
Finland may ban smoking in cars carrying children..;
Finland - Court of Appeals Hears Cigarette Liability Case, Decision Spring 2010..;
Finland banning shops from displaying cigarettes..;
Finland - proposal to ban tobacco display, total ban on SNUS..;
European Health Commissioner reprimands Astrid Thors for snus liberation campaign..;
Aland Islands Dispute Over Sale of SNUS On Board Ships Threatens Finland's Ratification of the EU's Treaty of Lisbon (The Reform Treaty)..;
Finnish Ferry Goes Swedish Over Snus Ban..;
EU Takes Finland to Court Again For NOT Banning the Use of Oral Tobacco..