Finland - health officials devising more restrictions to fight tobacco use..

October 19, 2009 - One proposal calls for simplistic packaging of tobacco products. A Finnish anti-tobacco working group is calling for simple, white packaging with strict guidelines on printing the product’s name and warnings.

Minister of Health and Social Services Paula Risikko has handed the group’s report to EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou.
”Our goal is to have a tobacco-free Finland by the year 2040. We want no new smokers,” says Ilkka Oksala, who heads the working group at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Last year, the World Health Organization said it recommended plain packaging for tobacco products.

However, the Finnish Grocery Trade Association says that the proposal could increase the smuggling of tobacco from Russia and Estonia. Osmo Laine, the managing director of the Finnish Grocery Trade Association, adds that customers should be able to easily find products they wish to purchase. “It would be far more effective to prevent youth from smoking if packages would tell the boring details of what the products are,” he says.

Reference: Health Officials Think Simple in Fight against Smoking, YLE Uutiset Uutiset, 10/15/2009

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