bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 17.12.2018 | Name days: Teiksma, Hilda
LithuaniaLithuania

Lithuania’s ruling party LVŽS rolls out new initiatives targeting bad habits

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

No ever Lithuanian government endeavoured so much to change Lithuanians’ bad habits as the incumbent authority. For the autumn parliamentary session to be kicked off next week, new alcohol-access restricting proposals have been registered, including those on the size of packaging.

At the beginning of the year, the Lithuanian government introduced what is thought the strictest alcohol laws in the European Union, raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 20, restricting opening hours for off licenses and banning all advertising for beers, wines and spirits.

And smokers in Lithuania hear even more bad news, with the Government resolvedly set to embody a series of new restrictions to wean off the puffing habit.

Under new amendments, plain cigarette packaging will be introduced and the display of cigarettes would be banned and smoking in residential balconies, outdoor cafes, beaches and other places would also be prohibited.

The amendments to the Law on the Control of Tobacco, Tobacco Products and Related Products envision the commencement of the restrictions from November, 2022.

In the striving of cigarette plain packaging, Lithuania would not be a white sheep, as Ireland, France, Norway, Hungary, Slovenia, the UK, Australia and New Zealand have already taken the path.

If the amendments on the display of cigarettes and other tobacco products in retail outlets, except for specialised shops and sections, are green-lit, they will go into effect as early as November, 2019.

Not only stores will be banned to show the names of producers and prices, but also will be stripped of right to promote sales of tobacco goods and advertise sale discounts.

With the measures in place, sales of bootleg cigarettes are believed to surge in the country.

Already now smokers encounter inconveniences due to multiple restrictions, however their addiction will be even more tested with the new prohibitions.

The Seimas orchestrated by the ruling Farmers and Greens Party (LVŽS) also mulls banning people from smoking in outdoor cafes, balconies, terraces and galleries, closed bus shelters, on beaches and at children playgrounds.

Now smoking in Lithuania is banned in all educational and social institutions, closed working areas, except for special smoking zones, residential premises where non-smokers would be forced to inhale tobacco smoke, restaurants, cafes, burs, clubs, discos, internet cafes and other recreational premises, except for specialized cigar and pipe clubs.

People are also banned from smoking inside vehicles with under 18-year-olds and pregnant women among passengers.

Although there is an understanding that state has to care of its citizens’ health, many Lithuanians are disgruntled at the scope of the proposed restrictions.

«This is insane. Instead of focusing on how to improve people‘s lives, the legislators are nearly obsessed with one thing: draw up new bans. They’ve forgotten that bans do not usually work as they run counter the rebellious and curious nature of human‘s psyche. What is needed to tackle smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is education and dissemination of good examples,» Rasa Tarasevičiūtė, a medical worker in Klaipeda, told BNN.

Not completely happy with the proposals, PM Saulius Skvernelis said on Tuesday that the Health Ministry will have to improve its proposed package of measures to discourage smoking, but emphasised that, although the government backs a ban on tobacco displays in shops, it does not however sees «sufficient» arguments for plain cigarette packaging.

«We heard comments and arguments from the business side…But at the same time, we have to balance the interests of the smoking part of society, because imposing bans and restrictions without offering alternatives is a simple way, but it was not approved,» said Skvernelis.

«In the government’s opinion, to put it mildly, the introduction of plain packaging is a highly debatable measure. There is no such practice in the European Union or clear arguments that this would help achieve the result we are striving for,» he emphasised.

Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga, who is expected to introduce the tobacco restriction proposals to the Seimas in the weeks to come, met with officials from the National Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, also on Tuesday.

Arnas Neverauskas, the association’s executive director, said after the meeting that an initiative to disallow tobacco manufacturer‘s name on cigarette packaging is tantamount to the «nationalisation» of tobacco producers’ brands.

«It’s a dangerous signal for foreign investors from a country positioning itself as a liberal economy,» he said.

The Seimas in late June approved the government’s three-year plan for increasing the excise tax on tobacco products by 6-14 per cent annually starting next March.

Neverauskas believes that authorities ought to exercise power of taxes in curbing tobacco use in Lithuania, not the radical measures which plain packaging is.

The association head warned that plans to introduce plain cigarette packaging may lead to an increase in production of counterfeit cigarettes and smuggling.

In the striving to make Lithuanians healthier and more health-conscious, Dainius Kepenis, a member of the ruling Farmers and Greens party, rolled out this week a far-reaching plan consisting of 100 proposals. It envisions issuing of health plans to every Lithuanian citizen, prohibition of high-fat foods and employment of alternative medicine.

According to the lawmaker, he spent two years drawing up the plan and, to believe Kepenis, health scholars view it in «a very positive light».

«If we take on its implementation now, we would see clear positive changes in three years from now. However, the job needs to be commenced immediately…Now I see only emulation of healthy living promotion in the country,» the MP told BNN.

Some critics pointed out however that the lawmaker, an avid healthy lifestyle wacko himself, did not mention in the document where to obtain the necessary resources for the plan’s execution.

However, Kepenis is relentless and claims that with the plan fulfilled, the rate of cardio- vascular deaths and illnesses will drop by 80 per cent in Lithuania just in three years.

Some medics said the ambition is too high and the target number is unfounded.


Leave a reply

Cold weather with periodic snowing to ensure presence of snow in Latvia this week

A precipitation zone will cross Latvia at the beginning of the month, which will bring considerable snowing. With that, the layer of snow in Latvia will increase 4-8 cm.

Week in Lithuania. Prosecutors mull probe into Russia sanction violations

Lithuanian prosecutors announced this week they were mulling launching a pre-trial investigation in to the purchase by around ten companies of fertilizers from Russia's Minudobreniya, which allegedly violates the EU's sanctions against Russia.

BNN summary of the week: scheme bubble of Rīgas satiksme; Estonia raises wages; government formation in Latvia

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Scandal; Plans; Growth; Protests; Amendments; Fight; Opinion.

Experts: fiscal consolidation is unavoidable next year

The new government will have to perform fiscal consolidation when compiling the state budget for 2019. This opinion was sent to the Saeima and Cabinet of Ministers by the Fiscal Discipline Council in relation to the 13th Saeima’s approval of amendments for the Healthcare Law that provide for a 20% wage increase for doctors starting next.

Ventspils opposition: the Constitution stands above municipality’s opinions on city governance

«For us to work to our full capacity, we require information and stay in the loop. If the work of the city council was organized during meetings of the city council and committees, we would have this opportunity. But because the work of the city council is put under other institutions – committees, in this case – and we [majority of opposition deputies] are not allowed to participate in those meetings and receive documents, this means our rights as deputies and voters are being limited. This, we believe, is the most important aspect to be breached,» said Ventspils City Council opposition deputy Aivis Landmanis said during a hearing of the Administrative Court in Liepaja in regards to Ventspils City Council’s refusal to adopt proportionality principles in committees and other structures.

EU offers Britons clarification, but no renegotiation of Brexit deal

European Union member state leaders and the blocs top officials have stated at a summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May, that the Brexit withdrawal agreement that lacks clear support in UK parliament was not open for renegotiation.

Estonia raises minimum wage

The minimum monthly wage in Estonia has been approved at the level of 540 euros, which is an increase from 500 euros.

This year e-signature was used to sign more than 5.7 million documents in Latvia

This year, e-signature was used more than half a million times a month in Latvia. A total of 5.7 million documents have been signed using this function in Latvia so far. More than 25,000 now use e-signature function on their smart-phones.

Trump distances himself from crimes committed by his lawyer

Reacting to the conviction of American lawyer Michael Cohen over campaign funding violations, U.S. President Donald Trump has distanced himself from the lawyer and accused him of attempts to embarrass Trump.

New Unity starts consultations with parties on forming government with Kariņš in charge

New Unity will insist on getting Finance Ministry in the new government, because it is only logical to have this ministry managed by the prime minister’s party, says NU representative and Saeima deputy Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš.

Strasbourg terrorist «neutralised» after opening fire on police

The attacker suspected of killing two people and injuring 12 more people at a Strasbourg Christmas market has been shot dead by French police.

Next week in Latvia to start off with snowfall

The end of the week is not expected to have any major weather changes in Latvia, whereas next week will start off with snowfall and gradual decline of air temperature, promises Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Court arrests Harmony sponsor and Honour to Serve Riga party member

Riga City Vidzeme District Court issued an arrest to businessman Aleksandrs Krjačeks on Thurday, 13 December. He was previously detained by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in the criminal case regarding procurements organized by SIA Rīgas satiksme, as confirmed by the man’s lawyer Valdis Ulmanis.

Saeima: increase of doctors’ wages should be a government priority

When preparing the budget plan for the next three years, the government should allocate money for the 20% increase of doctors’ wages. This is provided by changes to Healthcare Financing Law, approved by the Saeima in two readings on Thursday, 13 December.

airBaltic to perform more flights between Riga and Liepaja

During a visit today in Liepaja CEO of Latvian airline airBaltic Martin Gauss announced that airBaltic will increase the number of domestic flights between Riga and Liepaja from three to five weekly as of summer season 2019.

Court arrests Škoda commercial director; CPCB request arrests for two more people

Latvian court has arrested Škoda commercial director Vladislav Kozak following a request from Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in relation to the criminal case regarding procurements performed by Rīgas satiksme.

EY: investments in crypto currency offers have largely failed

86% of 141 initial crypto currency offers presented last year have lost value over the course of the first eight months of this year. Additionally 30% of them have lost nearly all of their value, according to Initial Coin Offerings study by EY.

Estonian criminal figure convicted in Ireland

A court in Ireland has convicted Estonian criminal figure Imre Arakas, finding him guilting of conspiracy to murder.

As income increase, housing becomes more accessible in all Baltic capitals

Housing Accessibility Index improved in all Baltic capitals in Q3 2018. The main factor for this was the growth of average net salaries. Additionally, beneficial economic development also improved households’ interest for housing acquisition, which was reflected both in increased activity on the apartment market and household loan portfolio growth.

Lithuanian PM suspects Kremlin-backed opposition behind teacher attacks

The nearer municipal council, presidential and EP elections, the more sparkles Lithuania’s political leadership spews out. With the linguistic weaponry exhausted in the Seimas, the party leaders seek help from intelligence services.

EP proposes stricter monitoring of militants returning to Europe to combat terrorism better

The European Parliament has presented proposals for better measures against radicalization, better data exchange and support of victims of terrorism, as well as several other proposals for European Union’s strategy for terrorism prevention.

Latvian media organizations found Media Ethics Council

On Wednesday, 12 December, Latvian Media Ethics Council was founded. It is a public organization meant to unite media organizations and legal persons associated with the media sector and supervise compliance with the council’s statutes and code of ethics, the council explains.

U.S. President's former lawyer sentenced to prison

The former personal attorney of U.S. President Donald Trump has been handed a prison sentence for violations of the rules of election campaign. A New York court has sentenced Michael Cohen to three years in federal prison.

Latvian parties hear New Unity leader’s offer; opinions on coalition still differ

Political parties in Latvia are prepared to listen to New Unity and its prime minister candidate Krišjāņis Kariņš’s initiative in the government formation process.

British PM stays after no-confidence vote, attends EU summit

British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a no-confidence vote in her ruling Conservative Party and on Thursday attends a summit of the European Union.

Newest comments