The Tobacco Act amended, product control to be enhanced
The amendments to the Tobacco Act, entered into force at the beginning of May, have a broad impact on the activities of manufacturers, importers and sellers of products subject to the Tobacco Act. The amended act also has an impact on product control by municipalities and steering by the Regional State Administrative Agencies.
The smoking ban now applies to playgrounds, outdoor areas of institutions that provide care services for children under 18 years of age based on the Child Welfare Act or the Mental Health Act, and public beaches. Smoking equipment intended for heating tobacco products cannot be kept on display.
An amendment that particularly applies to manufacturers and importers deals with the plain packaging regulation, meaning the harmonisation of unit packets of tobacco and similar products. This means that the appearance of unit packets cannot differ from the unit packets of other similar products. In addition, a sales ban was added to the act regarding flavours and aromas for tobacco products. These amendments only enter fully into force on 1 May 2023.
Responsibility for product control expanded to the enter retail chain
From the perspective of product control, a significant change involves the expanded self-monitoring obligation to the control of products’ compliance with law in addition to age monitoring. The purpose is that the entire retail chain participates in product control more effectively than before and that no illegal products are sold to consumers. Sole traders must update their current self-monitoring plans by the end of 2023.
A supervision fee was added to the act as part of completely new provisions. In the future, Valvira will collect a supervision fee based on annual sales volumes from manufacturers and importers who are obligated to submit a product notification. No supervision fee will be charged in 2022 if a manufacturer or importer announces that they will withdraw their product from the market by 20 September 2022.
The key goal of the legal amendment is to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco product. Another goal is to protect the population, children in particular, from the harm caused by passive smoking. The legal amendment also helps prepare for any new types of tobacco products placed on the Finnish market and enhances product control.
For more information, please contact:
Kari Kunnas, Head of Unit, +358 295 209 610
Reija Kauppi, Legal Counsel, +358 295 209 429
General guidance under the Tobacco Act: [email protected]