Denmark cannot implement its wish that no one born after 2010 should start smoking due to EU rules.
The Nordic country has seen a rising number of young smokers in recent years, reversing a long period of decline. To tackle this issue, last March the Danish government presented a health reform package that includes a nicotine ban attempting to prevent those born after 2010 from buying nicotine products. However, Denmark’s desire to make future generations nicotine-free was blocked by EU laws, which make it impossible for EU’s member states to ban or restrict tobacco marketing.
But the feasibility of the Danish nicotine ban was immediately questioned, especially as Denmark would be the only country in the word to take such a drastic measure to tackle the problem of tobacco. Last Wednesday, even Denmark’s Health Minister Magnus Heunicke expressed his concerns in a parliamentary answer, admitting that there would be legal challenges to implementing the new rule. The Health Minister acknowledged that a ban on the sale of tobacco and nicotine would require the amendment to the European Tobacco Products Directive.
The ministry of health, therefore, considers that a ban on the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to people born in 2010 or later would require an amendment to the European Tobacco Products Directive.”Magnus Heunicke, Denmark’s Minister for Health
The same package of health measures also contains the proposal to raise the age limit for purchasing alcohol to 18.
Even in the Danish Parliament, the proposals have encountered fierce resistance, particularly from the Liberal Alliance, the Conservatives, and the Danish People’s Party, who defined the proposed rules as “paternalist” and added that people should have the right to decide themselves.