The Belarus President urges new approaches in the fight against smoking. The head of state paid attention to this at the meeting aiming to deal with the trafficking and consumption of tobacco and electronic cigarettes.
Last year, Belarus' tobacco production fell by 16%. Belarus is conducting policy aiming to reduce tobacco consumption.
A number of regulatory legal acts are in force to help resolve the problem. Among them is the Decree of the President on this topic adopted back in 2002. These days, there are proposals to correct it.
The draft decree reduces the number of places for smoking and imposes restrictions on the sale and use of electronic cigarettes.
The President noted that in order to achieve results in the fight against smoking, not a total ban but a thoughtful set of measures is necessary.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
The decree designed to reduce the consumption of tobacco by our countrymen was adopted in 2002; necessary changes are being made to it on a regular basis. But there is still no proper result on which we counted. Therefore, first, we need to examine how the provisions of the current version of the decree are being executed and what progress has been achieved. Second (about those responsible for the implementation of its provisions): how well do we keep track of the results of the work done? Third, we see that people are still smoking and restrictive measures are not enough.
Moreover, there are new products to mimic smoking causing no less damage to health than tobacco. We are talking about electronic cigarettes, which are becoming increasingly popular. The new draft decree proposes to equate electronic cigarettes to tobacco products and to expand the list of places where smoking is prohibited. However, the question arises whether these measures will bring the desired effect. It is not a secret that a forbidden fruit is always sweet. "Experienced" smokers will need a strong motivation for quitting.
It's time to look for new ways to solve this problem, which will take into account the real situation and the psychology of people. International experience and practice show that to achieve results we don't need a total ban; rather, we should work out a thoughtful set of measures. Administrative restrictions should be organically combined with various types of incentives, promotions and information work. The main role is given to doctors, journalists, teachers, and ideologists. We should discuss whether this draft decree has everything we need and whether there are some alternative ways to decrease the number of smokers in Belarus.
According to a survey, almost 28% of the population in Belarus are smokers.
This roughly corresponds to the level of most European countries. Restrictions on sale and consumption of tobacco products are imposed in almost all countries.
For example, Finland completely banned smoking in public places as well as prohibited tobacco advertising and promotions by producers. In Australia, you cannot smoke in public places and transport. Sales of electronic smoking systems is banned in 13 countries.
Vladimir Koltovich, Trade Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
This decree equates the sales of electronic smoking systems to the sales of tobacco products. In addition, the decree specifies the procedure of sale, specifies smoking areas. They are regulated in a stricter fashion, otherwise speaking. And a ban is introduced on the consumption and trafficking of smokeless chewing mixtures.