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Finland First Country To Completely Ban Tobacco Smoking

Update Date: Jan 30, 2017 08:00 AM EST

Finland is committed to their campaign in making the country tobacco-free. By 2040, the Scandinavian government wants to see less than 2 percent of adults smoking.

Four years ago, NACS reported that 16 percent of Finns aging 15 to 64-years old smoke every day. The smoking rate in Finland has significantly dropped in the last few years because of smoking bans, prohibitions on tobacco advertisements and even retail displays.

Kaari Paaso, head of harm prevention unit of Finland's Ministry of Health and Social Affairs said that their approach in getting rid of all tobacco products is revolutionary. Milder tobacco products such as e-cigarettes or any alternatives are not being considered. He said that the government wants to phase out all nicotine products.

The cost for vendors to sell tobacco has significantly increased as they will now have to pay an annual surveillance fee of $536 for officers who will check on the compliance. The fee is paid on a municipal level so that a vendor with 10 checkouts could pay more $5,000 per year in addition to its licensing fee, according to a report by CNN.

Smoking inside private vehicles is already prohibited when there are teens 15 years old and below inside the car. People will also be banned from smoking on their balconies if it disturbs their neighbors. Smokers could be fined if smoke spreads on to the other spaces.

Finland wants to prevent the appeal of smoking to teenagers, the stage when people usually get to try the habit for the first time. Candies, chocolates or sweet snacks, shaped as pipes or cigarettes will now be limited according to new policies. Flavors in e-cigarettes will also be in discussion as it may entice young people to smoke.

Kelly Henning, director of the public health program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, said that the country has come very far in their campaign. Finland has put in place policies at the highest possible level to completely ban tobacco smoking.

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