bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 26.09.2018 | Name days: Kurts, Knuts, Gundars
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

Latvian government to expand Money Laundering Prevention Service’s capacity

On Tuesday, 25 September, Latvian government reached an agreement on the need to reorganize the supervision Cabinet of Ministers has over Money Laundering Prevention Service. At the same time, members of the government also agreed to expand the service’s capacity, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola told journalists.

New natural gas tariffs approved in Latvia; those who use more gas will pay less

The Public Utilities Commission has approved AS Gaso’s submitted natural gas transmission system’s tariff project, which provides for the introduction of a fixed fee for connection to permitted load regardless of the consumed gas volume.

OCMA: majority of Latvian immigrants live in Britain, Ireland and Germany

The Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs has calculated the exact number of Latvian citizens living abroad. The majority of Latvians reside in Britain, followed by Ireland, Germany , and USA, according to the data compiled in July 2018.

Sweden's head of government Löfven loses no-confidence vote

The head of Swedish government, Stefan Löfven has not received the support of parliamentary majority despite his left-wing block narrowly winning the parliamentary election earlier in the month.

CC: number of business merges on a rise in Latvia

In the first eight months of 2018, Competition Council made twelve decisions regarding business merges, which is 50% more than the number of similar decisions made in the same period of last year. Consolidation of market participants takes place the most often in retail trade of household goods, BNN was informed by the council.

EU supervisor to investigate Estonian and Danish banking authorities on Danske Bank

The banking supervisory authority of the European Union has been asked to investigate the work of Denmark and Estonia’s national banking watchdogs over possible shortcomings in failing to prevent money laundering through the Estonia branch of Danske Bank.

airBaltic receives its 12th Airbus A220-300 aircraft

Latvian airBaltic airline has received its twelfth Airbus A220-300 aircraft with registration number YL-CSN. The airline plans to have a total of fourteen Airbus A220-300 aircraft by the end of 2018.

In pictures: Pope Francis arrives in Tallinn

The head of the Roman Catholic church has been welcomed in Tallinn as he begins the last leg of the papal visit to the Baltic states devoted to their centenary.

Meteorologists say first autumn storm in Latvia to take place this week

On Tuesday, 25 September, atmospheric pressure in Latvia will increase and clouds will tend to reduce in the afternoon, as reported by Latvia’s Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Germany's largest bank required to improve fight against money laundering

The financial watchdog of Germany has called on Deutsche Bank to improve its measures against legalisation of dirty money.

Nearly 20,000 Latvians were living in Ireland in spring 2016

19,933 Latvian citizens were living in Ireland in spring 2016, according to census data from Ireland’s Central Statistical Bureau on the number of foreigners living in the country.

Russian protest leader Navalny detained right after previous detention

Alexei Navalny, a supporter of current protests in Russia against pension reform, has been released from administrative arrest, but arrested again on the same day to be kept in administrative arrest for another 20 days on charges of holding an illegal protest.

CPB: Russian special services remain highly interested about Latvia

Russian special services remain highly interested about Latvia’s internal politics. This includes 13th Saeima elections and their possible results. However, there is currently no information to suggest the election process could be influenced from the outside, admits Constitution Protection Bureau.

PHOTO: Pope Francis visits Riga Cathedral and meets seniors at St Jacob’s Cathedral

Pope Francis visited both Riga Castle and Riga Cathedral, where a service was held under his supervision. There he met with different Latvian officials. After that, the pope met with senior citizens at St Jacob’s cathedral.

Pope Francis arrives in Latvia for an official visit

Pope Francis arrived in Latvia on Monday, 24 September. He was greeted at the airport by President Raimonds Vējonis, Archbishop Zbigņevs Stankevičs and other public figures.

Week in Lithuania. President proposes amendments to restrict bailiffs' remuneration

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is putting forward amendments aimed at restricting bailiffs' financial remuneration to up to 15 per cent of the amount recovered.

BNN summary of the week: pre-election heat, rule of law in Latvia, Baltics prepare for Pope’s visit

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Elections; Change; Stagnation; Fight; Visit; Investigation.

Court reschedules viewing of criminal case due to Non-citizens Congress leader’s poor health

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court announced today that the viewing of the criminal case in which leader of Non-citizens Congress Aleksandrs Gapoņenko is accused of inciting national hate will be postponed to a later date.

Producer prices in industry up 1.0% in Latvia in August

Compared to July, level of producer prices in the Latvian industry rose by 1.0 % in August 2018. Level of prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 1.9 %, but of exported products – went up by 0.1 %.

Bishop: priest suspected of sexual abuse to be operated on in hospital

Pāvels Zeiļa, who is a priest of Rezekne Aglona diocese and the suspect in the criminal case regarding sexual violence and human trafficking, will undergo a complicated surgery on Friday, 21 September, as reported by Bishop Jānis Bulis.

Study: residents withdraw money from ATMs less often but in larger amounts

Every now and then discussions about dropping cash money altogether become active in society, AS PrivatBank representatives say.

HND Grupa design company, involved in Zolitude tragery, declared insolvent

Building engineer Ivars Sergets company HND Grupa, which was involved in the case revolving around the Maxima supermarket that collapsed in Zolitude, killing 54, not five years ago, has been declared insolvent, as reported by Latvijas Avīze.

Deputy Chief of State Fire and Rescue Service suspected of misappropriation

Latvia’s Interior Affairs Ministry’s Internal Security Bureau has detained deputy chief of State Fire and Rescue Service Ints Sēlis and one other official – a senior inspector, as reported by Panorāma programme of LTV.

Washington sanctions China for buying Russian military equipment

U.S. government has introduces sanctions against the Chinese army over a purchase of fighter jets and missile systems from Russia, despite a U.S. sanctions law targeting Moscow for attempts to sway in the 2016 U.S. election.

Autumn expected to begin soon in Latvia

Friday, 21 September, is expected to be warm in Latvia. Sun and considerable amount of clouds are expected, but not precipitation. Wind will draw in from the south, reaching a speed of 15-17 m/sec in western and central regions, as reported by Latvia’s Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.