Norway anti-smoking debate puffs along

Last week’s proposal, leaked by Dagsavisen before Minister of Health and Care Services Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen had even so much issued a statement, called for abolishing smoking in outside serving areas, educational and medical establishments, and entrances to public buildings.

The ‘smoke-free Norway’ minister’s measures add to an already restrictive practise of a ban on indoor smoking, tightened sales controls, and other proposals to further curb young peoples’ access to tobacco products.

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Anti-smoker Dagfinn Høybråten, leader of the Christian Democrats (KrF) who successfully introduced current Norwegian legislation, agrees smoking should be banned to eliminate children being at risk from passive smoking. However, he kicks the threatened anti-smoking extension for going too far.

“The Tobacco Law applies indoors and not outside. I’m sceptical to banning smoking in outdoor serving areas. There is a choice to go inside, after all,” he said.

Accusing the nanny state of going too far, Conservative (H) MP Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, a former and now occasional party smoker, declared, “it must be okay, for example, to smoke in outside serving areas and people should display common good manners, but there are limits to what can be micromanaged.”

Social Democratic Party (SV) politicians announce, this week, they will not be supporting some the government’s proposals.

“We agree to sending these to Hearing, but have made it clear to the Minister of Health and Care Services [Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen that we cannot condone all of these measures, amongst others, banning smoking in homes for the elderly. Vetoing smoking for elderly people makes no sense,” says Geir-Ketil Hansen.

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