Cigarettes to disappear from view in Latvian stores

The sight of cigarette cartons on display in stores is set to become a thing of the past after the Saeima on April 4 passed amendments to the law that will put tobacco products out of sight.

From October 1, 2020, smokers will only be able to buy tobacco by choosing what they want from a simple price list - so shoppers will no longer be presented with a variety of cigarette brands (and gruesome health warnings) while lining up at the checkouts.

"Smoking-induced oncological, pulmonary, cardiovascular, and other diseases are the frequent cause of premature death and disability. With this law, we continue to work on limiting smoking to the Saeima, focusing specifically on young people and discouraging non-smokers from starting this harmful habit Step by step we need to work to make Latvia a healthier country,” said Andris Skride, chairman of the Saeima Social and Labor Affairs Committee about the change to the law. 

Similar restrictions on tobacco availability have already been introduced in several other European countries. 

However there are exemptions: the new rule will not apply to duty-free shops and specialized smokers' shops, provided they are located in individually dedicated premises where goods and trademarks are not visible outside this venue. 

At the same time, the amendments to the law provide that the design of the packaging of tobacco products and other smoking products and devices cannot use Latvian national symbols, such as the national flag, plus images with recognizable persons, or characters from animated films. 


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