Stricter smoking and alcohol laws on the horizon

By INÊS LOPES – [email protected]

Laws governing smoking and alcohol consumption in Portugal are about to get stricter, announced the Health Minister last week.

Measures are being taken by health minister Paulo Macedo to further restrict the smoking of tobacco in public locations.

The minister confirmed to Parliament on April 11 that he plans to implement heavier restrictions on smoking in public indoor areas and also to prevent smokers lighting up in vehicles where children are present.

In order to assist his plans, Paulo Macedo also said that the ministry would be campaigning against smoking by supplying shocking photographs that illustrate vividly the effects of smoking.

Smoking while driving with a child in the car could soon be punishable by law in Portugal, the minister also announced. Smoking in cars with child passengers is already illegal in parts of the US, Australia and Canada.

Minister Paulo Macedo said, as well as being aimed at protecting children from the harmful effects of second-hand smoking in confined spaces, the measure was part of a wider set of rules to further restrict smoking in enclosed spaces as well as the sale of tobacco, which could soon see the end of cigarette vending machines.

In England, for example, the sale of tobacco from vending machines was prohibited at the end of last year, to prevent under-age sales and to support adults who are trying to quit.

An implementation date and the details outlining how the measure would work in Portugal will be announced in due course, said the Portuguese minister.

Meanwhile, laws governing alcohol consumption in Portugal are also expected to get tougher in Portugal, with new legislation being discussed to restrict alcoholic beverage sales through service stations and after midnight at all establishments other than restaurants and off-licences.

New legislation is also expected to bring into force a higher age limit for buying alcoholic beverages, from the current 16 to 18 years of age.

Tobacco law proposed changes :

• heavier restrictions on smoking cigarettes in public indoor areas

• restrict the sale of tobacco by banning vending machines thus helping smokers to quit

• smoking while driving with a child passenger punishable