The Portuguese parliament is today debating the tobacco law, which equates traditional consumption with heated consumption and tightens the siege on vending machines, with a ban on smoking outdoors near schools, colleges or hospitals.
One of the main pieces of legislation that carried over from the first legislative session to the current one, the law, which sparked controversy in the PS benches and continues to be the target of much criticism, is part of “a very ambitious agenda” that will later include measures to help those who want to quit smoking, said Health Minister Manuel Pizarro on Monday.
This afternoon in plenary, MPs will discuss the law, which transposes European legislation and reinforces rules on the prevention and control of smoking.
The government’s bill equates e-cigarettes with normal tobacco and creates restrictions on sale and consumption, namely extending the ban on smoking outdoors within the perimeter of public places of collective use such as health facilities or schools.
The new law also makes it impossible to create new spaces reserved for smokers in places where this is still allowed in enclosed areas.
For establishments that have adapted their spaces to the legislative procedures in force, the definitive elimination of smoking in enclosed areas will only come into force from 2030, allowing them to recover the investment made.
Before that, from 2025, the ban on tobacco sales in places where smoking is prohibited will be extended and spaces where vending machines are allowed will be redefined.
Immediately, if the proposal is approved by Parliament, it will no longer be possible to sell tobacco directly or through vending machines in places such as restaurants, bars, concert halls and venues, casinos, bingo halls, gaming halls, fairs and exhibitions.
With this bill, the government is taking the opportunity to transpose into national law a European Commission directive dating from 2022, which talks about exemptions for heated tobacco products.