Finland plans stricter smoking rules, unbranded cigarettes

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland is seeking to tighten its already tough restrictions on public smoking and tobacco advertising in the next few years, in line with the national goal to phase out the habit almost completely by 2030.

The Nordic country’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said that the proposal unveiled Monday will further tighten restrictions on outdoor smoking. This would include places such as bus stops, public beaches, children’s playgrounds and some outdoor terraces becoming completely smoking-free.

The new amendments would take effect Jan. 1, 2022 and the changes are to be carried out gradually within two years.

Also, the revised law calls for brand names and logos to be moved from cigarette cartons under a so-called plain packaging scheme, starting from the beginning of 2023. Many countries, including Australia and some European nations, have already introduced plain packaging.

The ministry said the draft changes would implement the pledge by the center-left government led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin to reduce addiction and “continue determined work to reduce smoking.”

The overall goal is to have less than 5% of Finland’s adult population consuming tobacco or nicotine products on a daily basis by 2030, compared to the estimated 11% in 2019, and 25% in the early 1980s.

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