Finland bans smoking on playgrounds and beaches | News

Under the new Tobacco Act, brand images and logos will be phased out of tobacco product packaging.

A smoking area on a beach in Hanko, the southernmost point of mainland Finland. Image: Yle / Helena von Alfthan

A stricter revised tobacco law came into force on May 1 as part of a long-term strategy to wean Finland off smoking.

Since Sunday, smoking has been banned in playgrounds and on public beaches. The beach ban will be in effect from the beginning of May until the end of September each year.

The legislative amendment aims in particular to protect young children from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. It also aims to reduce the litter and environmental damage associated with smoking.

Forbidden flavor cards

The revised law also prohibits tobacco flavoring products. These include flavor cards that can be placed inside a cigarette pack to add flavors such as chocolate, strawberry and menthol.

However, products that are already in stores and warehouses could be sold until the end of April next year.

Manufacturers were banned from adding flavors to cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and e-cigarette liquids as part of the latest comprehensive tobacco law reform in 2016.

Going forward, those who manufacture and import products covered by the Tobacco Act will have to pay an annual control fee to Valvira, the national welfare and health monitoring authority. Fees will be based on sales volumes. Revenues will be used to strengthen product controls.

Packaging logos disappear in May 2023

In a year, stricter regulations on product packaging will come into effect. Tobacco product manufacturers will no longer be allowed to display brand images on their products.

The stricter law requires manufacturers to remove logos from unit packets of tobacco products, e-cigarettes and refill containers. Technical details related to the layout of packages and products have yet to be announced.

The aim of the new regulations is to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products, especially to young people. The changes to the Tobacco Act are part of the government’s agenda, which calls for action to reduce addiction and smoking.

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