Smoking, purchasing tobacco products and selling them will not be allowed for persons under the age of 20. These restrictions will also apply to tobacco alternatives, plant products, electronic smoking devices and refill containers.
This is provided by amendments passed by the Latvian Saeima in the final reading on Thursday, the 11th of January.
Restrictions will come into force on the 1st of January 2025. Until now tobacco products in Latvia were available to residents 18 years or older.
“A large number of people become addicted to nicotine before reaching maturity. We have to do all we can to protect children’s and teenagers’ health,” chairman of Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee Andris Bērziņš, stressing that these amendment are the next step in reducing the attractiveness of smoking and accessibility of various tobacco products among youngsters. In the European Union tobacco consumption is the biggest preventable health threat and leading cause of premature death. Every year health complications from tobacco consumption cause the deaths of nearly 780 000 people, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
For the sale of tobacco products, tobacco substitute products, plant smoking products, electronic smoking devices or their refill containers to persons under the age of 20 years, a fine from EUR 280 to EUR 700 will be imposed on the seller, and from EUR 700 to EUR 7 100 will be imposed on the legal entity. Until now, the seller could be fined between EUR 280 and EUR 350 for the sale of these products to persons who have not reached 18 years, the fine for legal persons ranges from EUR 700 and EUR 1 400, the Saeima Press Service reports.
In turn, persons under the age of 20 years will be subject to a warning or a fine of up to EUR 15 for smoking, using smokeless tobacco products or tobacco substitutes.
The same penalty will be applied for acquisition or storage of these products.
The aforementioned law amendments also prohibit the sake of liquids for electronic smoking devices and tobacco substitutes containing flavour additives other than those that produce the smell or taste of tobacco. These restrictions will come into effect on the 1st of January, 2025. At the same time, there is a restriction on the production and sale of tobacco products and other smoking products that visually resemble sweets, snacks, and toys.
The amendments also dictate the requirements tobacco substitute products must meet in order to be sold on the market, including compositional requirements, packaging presentation conditions, and the information that the products must contain.
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