Last updated on 12th May 2023
The sale of tobacco from vending machines will be banned in 2025, and according to a new proposed law that will come into effect later this year, smoking will be banned in all outdoor spaces near public buildings such as schools, colleges, and hospitals.
If the Government’s draft law is approved by the Assembly of the Republic, it will no longer be possible to sell tobacco directly or through vending machines in places such as restaurants, bars, concert halls and venues, casinos, bingos, game rooms, fairs, and exhibition areas or centres.
Furthermore, the aggressive sale of tobacco, tobacco products including, heated tobacco (vaping) will be prohibited at all music festivals, states the Secretary of State for Health Promotion, Margarida Tavares.
The aim is to restrict the sale of tobacco to tobacconists, official outlets, and airports from January 2025.
According to the official, the amendments to the Tobacco Law, which are expected to be approved on Thursday in the Council of Ministers, were motivated essentially by the need to transpose into national legislation the European directive of June 29th 2022, which equates heated tobacco with other tobacco products, prohibiting the sale of heated tobacco with flavorings.
However, she stressed, “the focus is really on health promotion,” which involves “discouraging tobacco consumption and also reducing the possibility of access to tobacco, that is, the sale of tobacco.”
Therefore, the rules regarding smoking in enclosed spaces of access to the public, where there are already “major restrictions,” will be tightened.
“There are no places where it is possible to smoke,” with the exception of some spaces, such as restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, which from January this year, due to the legislation, have equipment that allows there to be a “separate and protected spaces for smokers.” This will only remain in effect until 2030.
There are also “very specific” exceptions, such as airports or other places where it is not possible to go to another place to smoke.
Margarida Tavares believes this is the “most revolutionary” change in the restriction of outdoor smoking in outdoor spaces, within the perimeters where buildings with public access are installed, such as hospitals, health centers, schools, or colleges. A measure that should enter effect from the 23rd of October.
However, In some places, such as prisons, Margarida Tavares believes that the new legislation would be a little unfair, but that it would be possible to create smoking areas for inmates.
She went on to explain that the government intends to create more and more environments that “ensure people have the best options for their health,” as well as discourage people from smoking, and limit access to tobacco so that youngsters do not have the opportunity to pick up the habit.
“We want to create a tobacco-free generation by 2040, and we believe that this is possible,” she said, and since the Tobacco Law, which came into force in 2007, “many things have changed,” with a “very important” reduction in the prevalence of old and new smokers.
In 2005/2006, the prevalence was 20.9% of smokers (more than 30% in men and about 12% in women, a figure that fell to 20% in 2014 (28% in men, 13% in women) and to 19% in 2019 (24% in men and 11% in women).
“We have been implementing restrictions on places where it is possible to smoke and places of sale, as well as other warnings that have been placed, and this has had a very significant impact, particularly on young people,” she said, recalling a study by the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto that found that, in 2003, 19.9% of young people aged 13 had already smoked a cigarette, while in 2018 only 3.9% had done so.
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