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Poll: Over 40% of regular smokers back 20-year age limit for buying tobacco products

A majority of respondents also backed banning the use of tobacco products near children's playgrounds.

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Image: Pyry Sarkiola / Yle

Up to half of respondents in a new poll agree that authorities in Finland should raise the age limit for purchasing cigarettes to 20.

According to the survey by the national public health organisation ASH Finland, 51 percent of all respondents said that the age limit should be hiked to 20 from the present 18.

Some 32 percent said there was no need to increase the age cap from 18, while 17 percent said they couldn't say either way.

Even regular smokers said they would back a move to prohibit anyone under the age of 20 from buying cigarettes, ASH Finland executive director Mervi Hara said, noting that 42 percent of this group supported raising the age limit.

No smoking zone near kids' playgrounds

The poll indicated that a majority also supported the idea of imposing a complete ban on smoking at locations such as children's playgrounds, at the beach and at bus stops and taxi stands.

Overall, 84 percent said they would forbid smoking or the use of snuff and e-cigarettes near children's playgrounds, while nearly 80 percent of regular smokers said they would also ban the use of tobacco products near kids' play areas.

Division over balcony smoking

Interviewees were largely divided on the issue of smoking on apartment building balconies. Forty-six percent supported a total ban on the practice, while 42 percent opposed it.

Support for outright prohibition on puffing on a balcony was highest in the capital region, where 51 percent said they'd back such a measure.

Market research firm Kantar TNS interviewed just over 2,000 respondents for the survey, which had a margin of error of +/- 2.1 percentage points.

Aug 14: Headline amended to read 'tobacco products'.

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