From June through October, the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) checked compliance with restrictions on the display of alcohol and tobacco products at stores throughout Estonia, where requirements were duly met at a total of 57.2 percent of stores inspected.
Since June 1, supermarkets have been required to place alcoholic beverages separately from other goods and limit their visibility from outside the point of sale. These restrictions aim to reduce the number of factors affecting the consumption of alcohol, particularly among vulnerable groups such as minors, young people, families with children, and people with alcohol dependency or alcohol use disorder, the TTJA said.
From June through October, the agency inspected retailers across Estonia in order to obtain an overview of the market situation as well as merchants' compliance with the new restrictions. Altogether 173 stores were inspected, in 99 of which the display of affected products met requirements.
Inspections revealed, however, that the reorganization of stores by several retailers did not ensure compliance in the best possible way.
"In stores where restrictions on the presentation of alcoholic beverages had not been met, we informed the manager of identified shortcomings and explained the requirements in force," TTJA official Birgit Valgus said.
Primary breaches included alcoholic beverages not being separated from other goods, and being visible from the remainder of the sales floor.
Fewer tobacco display-related breaches
The consumer watchdog also reviewed the display of tobacco products in connection with the amended Tobacco Act to enter into effect on July 1, according to which displaying tobacco products and related products and brands would be prohibited at points of sale.
Between July and October, TTJA officials visited a total of 116 retail stores in Estonia.
"Based on the results, it can be said that Estonian retailers follow the requirements imposed by the Tobacco Act," Valgus said. "Breaches regarding tobacco products and related products were only identified at six stores."
Restrictions on the sale of tobacco products will tighten further next year, as the sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes will be banned in the EU beginning May 20.
The TTJA will continue checking compliance regarding the display of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, and has compiled display guidelines to ensure a common understanding of the criteria.
Editor: Aili Vahtla