BY LUCY WESTCOTT Newsweek
With Norway aiming to become a smoke-free society by 2035, the country’s leading medical organization wants to ban the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to adults.
Speaking with Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten , Marit Hermansen, the president of the Norwegian Medical Association (NMA), said access to tobacco is not a fundamental human right. He also said there is a “snuff epidemic” in Norway, with around 12 percent of girls using the substance, a smokeless tobacco that is inhaled.
“We have long had the policy of phasing out smoking by 2035. This is a measure to achieve this goal,” Hermansen said. “We want a tobacco-free generation.”
The NMA has proposed starting a cigarette and tobacco ban in 2018 that would affect people born after the year 2000 in a bid to restrict access to younger generations and prevent them from continuing the habit in later life. The NMA said it doesn’t want to criminalize tobacco, but does want to make it difficult for people to get the product.
“It shouldn’t be forbidden to smoke, but we want young people to not get started with tobacco,” she said.
Around 13 percent of Norwegians smoke cigarettes daily, half the amount in 2004; in the U.S., that number is 17 percent of adults. However, the number of daily snuff users in Norway has increased to nine percent in 2014 from six percent in 2009; in 2014, one out of three men aged between 16 and 24 used snuff daily or occasionally, according to the Norwegian government data.
A number of Norwegian politicians told Aftenposten they were uncertain about the outcome of the proposed smoking ban, with Torgeir Micaelsen, a Labour Party lawmaker, saying it’s “too drastic” a step.