Health Ministry to improve its anti-smoking proposals
Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Tuesday that the Health Ministry will have to improve its proposed package of measures to discourage smoking, adding that the government backs a ban on tobacco displays in shops, but it does not see sufficient arguments for plain cigarette packaging.
"We heard comments and arguments from the business side. The health minister will improve the document and it will likely be different and more perfect and will reflect the protection of non-smokers' rights," he told reporters after the Cabinet's meeting.
"But at the same time, we have to balance the interests of the smoking part of society, because imposing bans and restrictions without offering alternatives is a simple way, but it was not approved," said Skvernelis, who earlier in the day met with officials from the National Tobacco Manufacturers' Association.
"In the government's opinion, to put it mildly, the introduction of plain packaging is a highly debatable measure. There is no such practice in the European Union or clear arguments that this would help achieve the result we are striving for," he said.
The prime minister said that Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga will propose measures to help quit smoking.
The proposed amendments to the Law on the Control of Tobacco, Tobacco Products and Related Products call for introducing plain cigarette packaging, prohibiting tobacco displays in shops, and banning smoking on balconies of multi-apartment buildings and in outdoor cafes, beaches and some other places.