Following the meeting of the government cabinet on 6 July, Luxembourg’s Minister of Health, Lydia Mutsch, has announced the proposed changes to the anti-smoking law from 11 August 2006 that were first touted last December.
The change is necessary due to a new EU regulation which now includes electronic cigarettes and addresses the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco. In order to fight
against infectious diseases, cigarettes and other tobacco products containing flavours such as menthol, vanilla, etc., are to be banned. Manufacturers will need to confirm all ingredients used in tobacco products and warning labels must cover 65% of the front and backs of packets.
As smoking is the leading cause of preventable and premature deaths in the EU; almost 6 million people die from the “tobacco epidemic” world-wide annually and 600,000+ non-smokers are exposed to tobacco smoke. In Luxembourg, around 1,000 people die annually from tobacco-related diseases, of which 60 are due to passive smoking. At least one in two smokers will die prematurely from tobacco-related disease, mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers and tumours, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In 2015, 21% of the adult population in Luxembourg smoked. This figure has been stable since 2013. The age when people start smoking is between 13 and 14 years.
“What worries us particularly, is the high rate of young smokers, with 27% of smokers in the age group 16 to 34 years,” said Minister Lydia Mutsch. “It’s one of the reasons for the new legislation transposing the Directive 2014/40 EU on Tobacco Control; it is particularly important to target the entry period for youth smoking since 70% of smokers start smoking before the age of eighteen years, and 94% before the age of twenty-five years.”
Changes to the anti-smoking law will mean this it will be forbidden to smoke at playgrounds and at public areas where games are played. Smoking will also be banned in private vehicles when children aged under 12 years are on board, even if windows are open or if the air conditioning is on.
Smoking electronic cigarettes will also be banned in the same places as traditional cigarettes, as is their advertising, as propylene glycol, glycerin and nicotine – in varying concentrations – are the main constituents.
The age at which people can now purchase tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, is being raised from 16 years to 18 years.
finally, Minister Mutsch has announced that a new national plan against smoking 2016-2020 is currently being finalised and aims to prevent and reduce tobacco use along four main objectives, as follows:
• Give people an environment to prevent smoking and achieve a lasting cessation from smoking;
• Protect young people and prevent their entry into smoking:
• Help people who want to quit smoking permanently wean them from tobacco;
• Acquire better knowledge, and regularly assess the steps performed.