TALLINN – The immense popularity of e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches among young people is a common concern of the Baltic countries, Estonian Minister of Health and Labor Peep Peterson said.
In addition to pharmaceutical policy, young people's access to e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches as well as common ways to restrict it were discussed at a two-day meeting of the health ministers and healthcare leaders of the Baltic countries held in Lithuania on Nov. 14 and 15.
The flavors of e-cigarettes that are attractive to children are banned in Estonia and Lithuania, while in Latvia, a corresponding bill has to date cleared second reading in parliament.
"We want to reduce the consumption of nicotine and especially limit its availability to young people. We know from the war on vodka that the policy on addictive substances may not be effective when acting alone, the end result will definitely be better when coordinating activities with neighbors," Peterson said.
"We need to cooperate more actively with our Baltic colleagues and exchange experiences in order to support the current regulation with other measures and really enforce it," the minister added.
The cooperation of the Baltic countries in the field of public health is based on the Baltic cooperation memorandum signed in December 2017, in which Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania agreed on common intentions in shaping policies on alcohol, tobacco and the promotion of healthy nutrition.
In terms of tobacco policy, the cooperation memorandum foresees, among other things, the equalization of all tobacco and nicotine products and the regulation of new products, including e-cigarettes and their liquids, the enhancement of supervision, the reduction of the attractiveness of the packaging of tobacco and nicotine products, the exchange of information on the European Union tobacco directive, the initiation of an increase in excise duties on tobacco and nicotine products, and the improvement of the availability of counseling services to quit tobacco and nicotine products.