The health ministers of and healthcare leaders from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania convened in Lithuania for a two-day meeting on Monday and Tuesday, where a central issue in addition to drug policy was the proliferation of e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches among the youth, their access to these products as well as joint opportunities to limit this access.
"We want to reduce nicotine consumption, and limit young people's access to it in particular," Minister of Health and Labor Peep Peterson (SDE) said according to a press release. "We know from the war on liquor that addictive substance policy may not be effective when working alone; coordinating with our neighbors will certainly lead to better results."
The Estonian minister acknowledged that the proliferation of e-cigarettes as well as nicotine pouches is a common Baltic concern, and added that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have to increase active cooperation on this issue in order to truly implement current regulations as well as support them with other measures.
In December 2017, the three Baltic countries signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) agreeing on joint intentions in shaping policies regarding alcohol, tobacco and the promotion of good nutrition. Among other things, the MoC provides for all tobacco and nicotine product being treated as equal, the regulation and increased oversight of new products, including e-cigarettes and their liquids.
E-cigarette flavors that may be attractive to children are banned in Estonia and Lithuania; similar legislation is currently being handled in the Saeima in Latvia, where it has already passed its second reading.
Editor: Aili Vahtla