Reforms Due to Bring Further Restrictions for Smokers
The Ministry of Social Affairs plans to introduce new tobacco policies in the autumn. They had been put on hold in anticipation of a strict new EU directive expected to be implemented next year.
The EU's tobacco reforms - a priority social issue during Ireland's EU presidency - would notably ban menthol, which will be given a three-year transition period, as well as require graphic images on the warning labels on cigarette packs.
Additional reforms proposed in Estonia would allow municipalities to decide whether to prohibit smoking at outdoor events, reported Postimees. Also, smoking could be banned on hiking and cycling trails, and stores could be required to keep tobacco products in a separate section, as is currently the case with alcohol, the daily said.
The head of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce, Mait Palts, has demanded that policymakers cooperate more closely with merchants.
"In the case of the tobacco policy Green Book, the Traders Association was the only one on the business side that was included in the working group. Other business partners weren't included although it had been pledged in the beginning stages," Palts said.
"From our perspective, that has been one of the main problems throughout the whole process and it in no way complies with the good practice principles of inclusion. At the moment we have the impression that substantive inclusion of businesses has been avoided out of panic, so that questions posed from those parties would not need to be answered," Palts said.
Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Rõivas denied the accusation.