Stricter tobacco legislation coming
The Health Ministry has drawn up changes to tobacco legislation to further restrict access to tobacco and nicotine products, a move welcomed by public health experts.
The changes to the restriction on the use of tobacco products and related products act come after the European Commission established last year some irregularities in the transposition of the relevant EU directive in Slovenia.
These shortcomings will now be addressed, and the legislation will also transpose a delegated directive that brings stricter criteria for heated tobacco products and introduces a ban on flavours for heated tobacco products.
The draft bill published by the Health Ministry shows that e-cigarettes and liquids - fillers with and without nicotine - would henceforth be treated the same.
This is because data shows that attractive aromas in e-cigarettes are related to increased attractiveness of e-cigarettes and decreased perception of their harmfulness.
"Out of precaution, a ban on all flavourings for e-cigarettes, except for tobacco, is being introduced," the Health Ministry said.
The ministry has also found that people are not yet fully protected from exposure to tobacco smoke and emissions of related products, and that the legislative provisions on tobacco are not being fully implemented.
For this reason, smoking rooms in all enclosed public and work spaces will be prohibited, and a system for approval of the increasing number of new tobacco and nicotine products will be introduced, and appropriate fees charged to producers.
The marketing of tobacco and related products on the internet, in telecommunications or any other emerging technology will be banned.
The ministry believes that the existing ban on cross-border remote sales will be implemented more effectively if the imports of these products by individuals is prohibited.
The changes therefore introduce fines for individuals who sell tobacco and related products, as the sale of these products is permitted only by businesses that have a special permit.
The ministry believes that these measures will contribute to implementing the anti-smoking strategy until 2030, which looks to reduce the share of adults who use tobacco products below 5% by that year.
The latest statistics, for 2020, show that one in five adults and one in ten 15-year-old smoke.
The changes, which are in public consultation until 30 March, were fully welcomed by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), which proposes that the transitional period for the abolition of smoking rooms be shortened from five years to one.
It also proposed additional measures, such as reducing the number of points of sale, a ban on products for chewing and snorting and a ban on smoking and use of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products in certain semi-enclosed and open spaces.