Slovenia to get uniform tobacco packaging but no "tobacco cent"
While a special levy known as the "tobacco cent" is not envisaged, the proposal includes an excise duty hike that raises the price of a pack of cigarettes by 10 cents.
The changes moreover introduce the licensing of tobacco vendors and stricter regulations for the promotion of tobacco products and for various non-standard tobacco and smoking products.
The licence fee will notably only have to be paid every five years and is currently set at EUR 23, while the Health Ministry initially spoke about EUR 200 per a vending outlet per year.
Seeking to make smoking less attractive to youths and to dissuade adults from smoking, the government has secured an additional EUR 4m a year for the Health Ministry, tasking it to draw up a set of measures to this purpose together with the ZZZS health purse manager.
The changes, which are also driven by EU law requirements, were first unveiled by the Health Ministry in February and have been subject to an intense debate.
Discussed the most were the plan for a tobacco cent, which the ministry originally said could amount to between 50 cents and a euro, as well as the generic packaging, which also has opponents among the coalition SocDems.
SD president Dejan Židan said there had been warnings that generic packaging could lead to lawsuits by tobacco companies. This provision will therefore be examined once again in the course of the parliamentary procedure.
The weighing of health and financial interests was also in the centre of the disputes about several other contentious provisions.
The youth organisation No Excuse Slovenia, which as been one of the most vocal NGOs in efforts for stricter regulations, welcomed the proposal in principle.
The things missed most by the organisation are the tobacco cent and the originally announced prohibition of smoking in one's car in the presence of a child.
The Chamber of Small Business and Craft (OZS), on the other hand, finds the changes unnecessary and a burden for the economy.
Drago Delalut of the OZS's hospitality and tourism section feels the focus should be on educating the youth rather than things like excise taxes.
He took issue with what he sees as excessive fines, for instance for poorly paid waiters who mistakenly sell a tobacco product to a minor.