Ministry proposes stricter smoking rules

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Smoking outside might become more difficult.

Image: Laura Ukkonen / Lehtikuva

Smoking on public beaches could be banned and trademarked cigarette cartons under new rules proposed Monday by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM).

Changes to the tobacco law would result in stricter restrictions on outdoor smoking, with bus stops and some outdoor terraces becoming banned.

The STM said the proposals, some of which could come into effect in 2023, were aimed at reducing the attractiveness of smoking.

The bill will be considered until June 7 and could be passed next year.

What would be prohibited?

The health ministry said logos and other marks could be removed from the packaging of tobacco products to reduce the products’ appeal to consumers. The change would mean that all brands of tobacco would carry the same labeling.

According to the World Health Organization, similar plain packaging introduced in Australia in 2012 would have reduced the number of smokers by an additional 0.55%.

The story continues after the photo.

Nainen sytyttää tupakkaa kädessään aski, jossa on letkuihin kytketyn vauvan kuva.

Australian cigarette packaging has been subject to stricter branding rules since 2012.

Image: Lukas Coch / EPA

The proposed change in Finland could come into effect in 2023.

The ban on flavored tobacco would be extended under the new rules to cover all tobacco products. Currently, the ban only applies to cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco.

Limits of outdoor smoking

Public beaches and playgrounds would be subject to a smoking ban under the new rules.

In addition, the proposed amendments to the Tobacco Act would also change the definition of what counts as an interior zone.

The change would mean that the awnings of bus stops and many other bar and restaurant terraces would be banned from smoking.

The story continues after the photo.

Nainen polttaa tupakkaa kahvilan pöydässä.

The rules would ban smoking outside on certain bar and restaurant terraces.

Image: Cabalar / EPA

Currently, it is legal to smoke on a terrace that has a roof and up to two walls. According to the proposed changes, it would only be possible to smoke on terraces with a roof and one wall, or on terraces with two walls but no roof.

The smoking ban would not apply to fully open-air terraces.

If approved, the proposed new definition would come into effect in early 2024.

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