Tobacco-free generation by 2040
The Council of Ministers approved today a Proposal for a Law that transposes a European delegated directive on heated tobacco products into the Portuguese legal system, taking firm steps towards promoting health and protecting the population from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.
As of October 2023, the sale of heated tobacco products that have flavorings in their components will be prohibited. In addition, heated tobacco packages will now feature combined health warnings, including text and photography, thus being equivalent to conventional tobacco.
Given the consumption of new tobacco products by the younger population, the proposed amendment to the Tobacco Law (Law No. 37/2007, of 14 August), which will be submitted by the Government to the Assembly of the Republic, increases restrictions on smoking and the sale of tobacco products, with the aim of reducing consumption incentives and contributing to a tobacco-free generation by 2040.
The Bill of Law, which was on the agenda of the Council of Ministers Meeting this Thursday, May 12, introduces the following main changes:
– Equate heated tobacco to conventional tobacco with regard to odors, flavors and health warnings;
– Extend the ban on smoking outdoors within the perimeter of places accessible to the general public or for collective use, such as health establishments, educational establishments, sports venues, stations, stops and alights of public transport. These measures take effect from October 23, 2023;
– Make it impossible to create new spaces reserved for smokers in areas where smoking is already prohibited in closed areas, with the exception of airports, railway stations, bus stations for passengers and sea and river stations.
– The enclosures that have these spaces under the ordinance that took effect at the beginning of 2023, namely catering establishments and similar establishments, will be able to keep them until 2030;
– Extend the ban on the sale of tobacco to most places where smoking is prohibited, also redefining the spaces where the installation of vending machines is allowed, which must be located more than 300 meters from educational establishments. Changes to tobacco sales bans will take effect from January 2025.
About two thirds of the causes of death in smokers are attributable to tobacco consumption and, on average, a smoker lives 10 years less than a non-smoker. Tobacco is the only common risk factor for four major chronic diseases: cancer, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and cerebrovascular disease. It is also estimated that, in 2019, there were around 13,500 deaths attributable to tobacco in Portugal.
The Government, in compliance with its program and committed to European and international public policies in this field, understands that the proposed measures are essential and adequate to the objectives of protecting the population from exposure to tobacco products, conventional and non-conventional, namely to agents carcinogens.
It is also intended that younger generations can live in tobacco-free environments, either by limiting sales outlets or eliminating advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products, taking into account to discourage experimentation and addiction. With the limitation of the places where smoking is allowed, it is also intended to encourage smokers to overcome tobacco dependency.