Iceland to ban tobacco?

A new parliamentary motion put forth to the Icelandic Althingi calls for the sale of tobacco products to be restricted solely to registered pharmacies.

Former health minister Siv Fridleifsdottir is the main architect of the resolution.

Under the proposed new law, Iceland would become one of the first countries in the world to restrict access to tobacco products by removing them from general sale. Tobacco sales in supermarkets, corner shops, petrol stations, on aeroplanes and at duty free stores would be banned. Tobacco would then only be sold at pharmacies with special tobacco licences.

The motion’s authors propose the strict controls because tobacco is an addictive drug and a cancer-causing poison.

The MPs also propose that after ten years tobacco sales in pharmacies should be hindered further by requiring customers to obtain a sort of tobacco prescription from their doctor. Tobacco would therefore still be legally available to those few people who cannot or do not want to quit smoking. The idea would be for doctors to assess the level of a patients’ nicotine addiction and to have tried alternative therapies with them before writing a tobacco prescription. This would restrict tobacco solely to those with proven addictions who either cannot or will not quit, Visir reports.

As well as Siv Fridleifsdottir (Progressive Party), the motion is also brought by Thuridur Backman (Left Greens), Asta R. Johannesdottir (Social Democrats), Arni Johnsen (Independence Party), Margret Tryggvadottir (The Movement), Alfheidur Ingadottir (Left Greens), Thor Saari (The Movement), Olina Thorvardardottir (Social Democrats) and Eyglo Hardardottir (Progressive Party).

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