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Tuesday 25.10.2016 | Name days: Beāte, Beatrise

Saeima deputies do not oppose prohibition to smoke in cars

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe prohibition on smoking will also apply to the interior of vehicles, according to proposed amendments to the Law on Turnover of Tobacco Products. Saeima’s Social and Employment Matters Committee, which is responsible for the draft’s progress, refused to support the Legal Affairs Bureau’s proposal to clarify the redaction of the law approved in the first reading.

«The government has come up with stricter smoking restrictions. These restrictions have also found support among members of the Saeima. We also understand that the prohibition to smoke not only in the presence of others but also in a private car balances on the border of privacy of personal life. With that, we ask the Healthcare Ministry to provide very clear justifications for the proposed extension of the prohibition on smoking. Unfortunately, after hearing out opinions of experts, deputies did not comply with the request of the Saeima Legal Affairs Office to provide clarifications to the proposed redaction of the law in regards to the rights of every individual to a private life, as stated in the Constitution,» – Aija Barca, chairperson of Social and Employment Matters Committee, comments on the situation.

Supporters of the prohibition say smoking in a small enclosed space is more dangerous to health than smoking in an open area. On top of that, cigarette smoke is not the only dangerous substance people are forced to breathe in while sitting in a car with a smoker. Smoking is also a distraction for the driver, and can result in serious traffic accidents. Latvian Physicians Association referenced studies that revealed that nicotine greatly impact’s eyesight.

The committee also plans to review stricter restrictions for trade and turnover of tobacco products, including a restriction to put up tobacco product brands for open sale in retail stores. «This is a very radical proposal indeed. It basically means customers would have no visual representation for cigarette packs – only a list of brand names and prices,» – explains the head of the committee. She notes this proposal will cause more in-depth discussions. This is why it will be viewed as a separate draft in order to avoid delaying the introduction of the tobacco directive that is expected to come into force on 20 May.

Among other restrictions, the new draft also provides for new requirements for cigarette packs.


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