Tobacco ban: Is Latvia jumping the gun?
In May in Brussels will be adopted new tobacco directive. If it happens than during two years countries-participants will have to introduce a lot of new restrictions.
So, for example, it will not be allowed to sell small cigarette packs, maybe will be also necessary to refuse tobacco brands on the packs. Traders predict that Latvia will not limit only with them and thus will become one of the countries with the strictest legislation in tobacco business.
According to the words representative of the Latvian Health Ministry Alisa Krumini, above mentioned actions will help reducing tobacco influence on people's health. These new norms are included in conception of World Health Organization and form the base of this directive.
In the document is written that some norms country may introduce on their discretion.
Latvian legislators are determined and will toughen everything what they can.
"Though directive doesn't require this, we work on draft law that will prohibit electronic cigarettes for a long time now. We have already coordinated it with other ministries and directed for consideration to our government. Of course, later it should be coordinated with European Union and prove that we don't need one more product with nicotine content. We will not refuse this draft law and will do our best to adopt it", - says Alisa Krumini.
In Ministry of Health don't deny that they wish to maximally toughen legislation. So, for example, in spite of the fact that participants will be able to choose whether to introduce standardized pack without brand names or not Latvia has taken strict position at once.
In turn, Latvian traders are afraid that legislation of the country in the field of tobacco business will become the strictest in entire Europe.
"Such tendency is prevailing almost in any sphere in Latvia. We are introducing various directives of European Union, sometimes want to run ahead of entire Europe, being first who is introducing some restrictions and rules even stricter than European Union requires", - says the head of Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Yanis Endzinsh.
Manufacturers of tobacco products are sure that new directive, moreover in such severe form in which Latvia plans to adopt it will not lead to anything good. Philip Morris representatives declared that it will only give green light to smugglers.