First Singapore, now Norway calls for tobacco sales ban on those born after 2000

January 2016: The president of the Norwegian Medical Association, Marit Hermansen, has called for a ban on the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2000 as a first step to create a smoke-free society by 2035.

According to Hermansen “It shouldn’t be forbidden to smoke, but we want young people to not get started with tobacco.” If the goal was to prevent young people from picking up smoking, they should not be able to buy tobacco products when they come of age, she added. Hermansen said she believed it was possible to get political support for the proposal.

Previously, researchers in Singapore were the first to propose a similar measure, referred to as the millennium generation (TFG2000), to protect the next generation from tobacco. Tasmaniahas also called for a similar Tobacco-Free Generation in 2012. The motion, initiated by an independent Member of Parliament was unanimously passed by Tasmania’s upper house. The law remains subject to approval by the lower house.

Singapore moves forward on plain packaging

Singapore’s health authorities are moving forward on their proposed standardized packs, a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes, and to raise the minimum tobacco smoking age from 18 to 21, according to a Straits Times report. Singapore is now officially the first country in the ASEAN region to start preparations for plain packaging of cigarettes.

The Health Promotion Board (HPB), along with the Health Ministry and the Health Sciences Authority have begun a 12-week public consultation on the proposed regulations, which will run til 29 March.

Singapore announced its plans to adopt plain packaging first in March 2015. The plain packaging will decrease the appeal of cigarettes and other tobacco products, and increase the visibility of health warnings. The incidence of smoking in Singapore fell from 18.3 percent in 1992 to 13.3 percent in 2013, and the aim was to cut the smoking incidence to 12 percent by 2020, the HPB was quoted as saying.

For more information on pictorial health warnings among ASEAN countries, see:http://tobaccolabels.seatca.org/

For information on TI denormalization, check out SEATCA’s Tobacco Industry Watch website

Previous ASEAN Tobacco Watch updates can be found here

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Mary Assunta, PhD

Director, International Tobacco Control Project,

Cancer Council Australia

Senior Policy Advisor, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance