Wants to move the sales of snuff and tobacco to Vinmonopolet

VinmonopoletVinmonopolet.Photo: wikimedia.org

The Norwegian Medical Association believes it is about time to make the access to snuff and cigarettes more difficult, and will therefore prohibit the sale in shops and kiosks.

– The harmful effects of smoking are devastating for many. Half of those who smoke die earlier than they would if they did not smoke. Less access allows less consumption, that’s why we need to  restrict the supply of tobacco, says Erik Valestrand, head of the Medical student association.

The association consisting of future Norwegian doctors, decided at its national convention this  weekend that they want an end to the sale of tobacco in shops and kiosks.

They suggest that snuff and smoke either sold at Vinmonopolet and other specialty shops.

– We believe this will facilitate to make good and healthy choices. By moving the tobacco to specialty shops will the young ones experience it as an less available option, says Valestrand.

– Easily accessible

He believes it is about time to make tobacco less accessible.

– People should have the freedom to buy tobacco, but it should be a little harder to make that choice. The authorities will have to take a greater responsibility for lifestyle diseases that threatens the public health, said the medical student.

Shop employees Cecilie Fredriksen at Rema 1000 in Wergeland, Bergen, sells s dozens of boxes snuff and smoke every day.

– It is very much snuff. It is easily accessible, perhaps too easy. I think people would buy less if they could not buy it at the store, so I’m not opposed to that kind of proposal, says Fredriksen.

Cancer Society will have another solution

The Cancer Society supports the medical students’ desire for stricter regulation of tobacco sales, but envisages a different solution than the one proposed.

– We will also have fewer outlets to sale  tobacco in the long term. But we believe we must begin with the outlets we have today, and regulate them better,  say Press officer Erik Vigander.

– We want a supervisory system with the possibility of sanctions, to restrict the sale of tobacco to minors.

Political opposition

The proposal by Medical student association meets mixed reactions from health politicians in the Parliament.

– Tobacco is a legal product in Norway, and there are already strict rules around the sale of it. We see that the percentage of smokers goes down, and I don’t see the  need for a ban, says Morten Wold, health policy spokesman for Fremskritspartiet.

– AP is a supporter of strict regulation, but  there are  no plans to restrict tobacco only to specialty shops to day, writes Tove Karoline Knutsen in an e-mail.

– We believe that the way to go to achieve the goal of a tobacco-free society, is to continue to work with information campaigns and that we have introduced standardized tobacco packaging, says Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen, health policy spokesperson for Conservative Party .


Source: nrk.no / Norway Today