“We’re no longer giving tobacco tacit approval,” says Ismo Tuominen, a Ministerial Counsellor at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
The legislation seeks to make Finland smoking-free not by an outright ban on smoking, but by methods such as limiting the visibility and availability of tobacco products.
“The goal of the old law was to decrease smoking, which accepted that tobacco was a part of our life. This doesn’t make much sense as tobacco is the underlying cause of a large portion of premature deaths,” Tuominen explains, adding that “ tobacco would be banned if it was introduced in this day and age.”
Finland’s anti-smoking bill is expected to grab headlines worldwide, and Tuominen anticipates that other European Union states will follow Finland's lead to stub out smoking.
Finland is able to introduce the legislation because it lacks its own tobacco industry, according to Tuominen.
The international tobacco industry is fuming over the new law. Tuominen says that Philip Morris repeatedly tried to block its passage.