Sadly, Estonia has recently ranked third in Europe for smoking-related deaths. To this effect, the current bill proposes amendments which would clarify regulations regarding alternative nicotine products, with the aim of encouraging safety and accessibility to such products and reduce smoking rates.
Bill sponsor MP Tarmo Kruusimäe said that previous amendments to the Tobacco Act, have not only led to a rise in smoking rates, but also unintentionally created a booming black market.
Amendments proposed on nicotine content and flavours
The amendments currently proposed would introduce regulations on nicotine content in white snus (tobacco free snus) and modify existing regulations regarding flavoured products and access to online sales.
An release by NNA Estonia summarized the amendments as follows:
“The proposed regulations will:
- Set the maximum nicotine content in ‘white snus’ to 25mg/g and limit the maximum pouch size to 1 gram.
- Prohibit the addition of vitamins, caffeine, taurine and other additives which may give consumers the false impression that ‘white snus’ is beneficial to health or promotes energy.
- Exclude sweet flavours from the selection such as candy, cakes, soft drinks etc., which may be attractive to youth.”
Thankfully the bill proposes reversing a current ban on flavours which allows only tobacco and menthol on the market. The bill proposes extending the selection of flavours but keeping those described as candy, dessert or soft drinks banned.
Online sales would be brought back upon digital identification
Online sale of safer nicotine alternatives is currently banned. The bill would restore domestic online sales upon digital identification (ID-card) to exclude any sales and availability of products to minors. The NNA explained that a similar system has been adopted locally for digital voting which has proven to be very secure.
The proposed amendments would ensure that images and icons relating to child centric graphics such as cartoons, toys, characters, descriptors etc., would no longer be portrayed on the packages.
The display of electronic devices used for safer nicotine use is currently prohibited except in specialist independent retailers. The amendment would allow general retailers to display electronic nicotine products thus allowing adult customers the opportunity to view the range of products available, helping them to make informed choices.
The Bill on Amendments to the Tobacco Act are available on the Riigikogu website.