Photo courtesy of Hannu Huhtamo
The Tobacco Act of Finland was tightened as the President of the Republic approved the amendments on 13 April 2022. The new amendments include the removal of brand images and logos from the unit packets of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and refill containers, which entails the adoption of a plain packaging for these products. The final aim is to reduce the appeal of tobacco products particularly to young people.
To the existing prohibition to use characterising flavours and aromas of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and liquids for electronic cigarettes, adopted in 2016, the Tobacco Act extends the prohibition to products that consumers can use to alter the flavours of tobacco products themselves, such as flavour cards.
Additionally, the new regulation prohibits smoking at public beaches during the swimming season (beginning of May to the end of September), on playgrounds and in the outdoor areas of institutions providing care for persons under 18 years of age under the Child Welfare Act or the Mental Health Act.
An annual supervision fee that is based on the sales volumes of products is introduced to those entities that manufacture and import tobacco products, to be paid to the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health. These fees shall be used to strengthen product control.
The amendments entered into force on 1 May 2022, with the exception of the regulation on plain/uniform packaging, which will enter into force on 1 May 2023. Separate provisions on the technical details related to the layout of packages and products were issued in a decree. In relation to the ban on flavours, it is permitted to sell products that are already in shops and warehouses until 30 April 2023.
The aim of the Finland’s Tobacco Act is to end the use of tobacco and nicotine products. In order to achieve this by the end of 2030, the systematic and purposeful actions must be continued and developed, and new actions adopted. This is why the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health appointed in February 2022 a new working group for the development of tobacco and nicotine policy. The working group will present its proposals related to ending the use of tobacco and nicotine products, to improving the smoke-free housing and to raising the minimum purchase age for tobacco and nicotine products from the age of 18 by the end of January 2023.
For more information, please, contact:
– Ministerial Advisor Meri Paavola, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland (firstname.lastname@example.org).
– Senior specialist Hanna Ollila, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Surveillance (email@example.com)