Siv Friðleifsdóttir, member of the Icelandic parliament and former government minister, is calling for the purchasing age for tobacco products to be increased. She says Iceland should look towards other countries which have increased the smoking age to 21 for inspiration in trying to stop people getting hooked in the first place.
“There are very few people who start smoking when they are, as you say in inverted commas, adults. People who start smoking are usually teenagers who are in many ways not making an informed decision based on knowledge and rationality,” Siv told Bylgjan radio.
The radio program was talking about a proposed law in Hawaii which would stop under-21s buying tobacco. Siv told listeners she believes that is a step in the right direction and that New York is a good example and has already changed its laws.
“This issue is being looked at very closely all over the world and harder regulations are being proposed. Not only in tobacco restrictions but also in alcohol restriction. It’s like that these days. It is old fashioned to stay quiet on these issues,” she says.
Siv has long been an advocate for stronger laws to stop smoking in Iceland, Vísir reports. It was her who put the bill forward to Alþingi which saw smoking banned in bars, cafés and restaurants from June 2007 onwards.
She also put an unsuccessful bill forward in 2011 that would have seen smokers needing a doctor’s prescription to buy tobacco. This is not the first time she has publicly called for the smoking age to be increased.