Stricter control on sale of tobacco proposed

The proposed new tobacco control act has been met with skepticism due to its strict regulations. Others say it is not ambitious enough.

The Government has suggested stricter regulations in order to limit the number of public areas where smoking is permitted. The act may also limit the places permitted to sell tobacco products.

"This is a step in the right direction," says Minister of Health Jonas Gahr Støre. He thinks that the strict measures introduced the past years have contributed to making Norway the OECD-nation that has experienced the steepest decline in the number of smokers from 2000 to 2010.

However, the opposition is not pleased with Government's new act. Head of the Conservative Party's Youth Group, Paul Joakim Sandøy, thinks that new measures are not necessary since the number of smokers is already declining at a steady pace.

The Norwegian Medical Association (Legeforeningen), on the other hand say it is not ambitious enough. They had among other things demanded a ban on smoking in cars, but this is not included in the proposal.

- Our view is that all areas where there are children, should be completely smoke free, says the Association's president, Hege Gjessing.

One of the proposed measures is to limit the number of places allowed to sell tobacco products by issuing sales permits. The Health Directorate originally proposed issuing permits to the outlets that are also allowed to sell beer, effectively meaning that only bars and grocery stores would be allowed to carry tobacco products.

 

If the act is approved, the new legislation may threaten many of the stores that currently base a large portion of their revenue on tobacco products.

 

(E24/Vårt Land)

Julie Ryland

 

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