The Estonian Traders Association has submitted a proposal to the Social Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu to delay until Jan. 1, 2021 the entry into force of amendments to the Tobacco Act which would ban the public display of tobacco products at retail outlets.
The association found that the Social Affairs Committee's plan to delay the enactment date until July 1, 2019 is not sufficient given the scope of changes that have to be made and is requesting that the standing committee consider the option of giving the retail sector a three-year transition period.
The association has asked the committee to take into consideration the different capacities various retailers have to make the investments necessary to change their display configurations. It also pointed out that discussions regarding restrictions on the sale of alcohol have likewise been going on this year, which would require an even bigger investment during the same time period, both in terms of time and money.
According to the association, three years would be a suitable length for a transition period in Estonia. A survey commissioned by the association has found that major retail chains would like the transition period to last five years, while smaller stores have indicated that one or two years would be sufficient for them.
The Riigikogu is scheduled on Wednesday to begin the second reading of a bill to amend the Tobacco Act which would significantly toughen restrictions on the sale of tobacco products and prohibit the display of tobacco products as well as the presentation of brands of tobacco products at retail outlets.
The bill would exempt from the prohibition specialized retail outlets, ships sailing on international routes and stores located within the immediate vicinity of an airport or harbor. In addition, the provisions of the existing Tobacco Act concerning sales promotion would be expanded to cover tobacco-related products.
The bill would also limit the availability and consumption of e-cigarettes by banning their use, in addition to in child care institutions, in all other places where smoking is forbidden as well, such as in dining establishments and stores.
The current version of the bill sets out a transition period lasting through Jan. 1, 2019 for the implementation of several provisions of the law, including the ban on sales promotion and the display of cigarette boxes and brands.
Editor: Aili Vahtla