Inclusivity in football, tighter tobacco regulations: what changes from 1 November in Belgium?
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Inclusivity in football, tighter tobacco regulations: what changes from 1 November in Belgium?

The start of November will see new rules and regulations applied across different activity sectors in Belgium, including stricter rules on tobacco and medicine sales and larger inclusivity in football.

Ban on tobacco sales to minors

Adopted in the spring of 2019, a new measure will raise the legal age for buying tobacco and CBD-based products to 18 from the previous age limit of 16, bringing Belgium in line with regulations in other European countries.

The new rules also include sales of electronic cigarettes, with merchants still selling to minors risking hefty fines that can reach up to €2,000 for repeat offenders.

Expiration date on medical prescriptions

Starting from 1 November, all medical prescriptions will be valid for only three months except where stated otherwise by a medical practitioner.

The new regulation, introduced by the federal health ministry under Maggie De Block, aims to harmonise the period during which a pharmacy is authorised to sell medicines to a patient with the time a patient has to ask for the prescription to be reimbursed by social security.

Physicians will be able to indicate a validity period which is longer or shorter than the default 90 days in accordance with their assessment of a patient’s needs, so long as the period is no longer than one year.

While the measure comes into effect on Friday, a transitory period lasting until 31 January 2020 will allow patients to recover medicines using prescriptions delivered before the changes applied.

The new regulations apply to both paper and electronic prescriptions and were introduced in preparation for a shift in regulations which will require doctors to use only electronic prescriptions for ambulatory patients.

Inclusivity on Flemish football pitches

Football Flanders will introduce new rules in November which will make it easier for transgender players to participate in competitions organised for a gender other than the one which was attributed to them.

The football non-profit’s “gender exemption rule” will mean the gender written on a player’s identity card can be overlooked in order for them to enter either male or female competitions, Le Soir reports.

Following a medical, psychological and/or social services assessment, an ethics committee with the non-profit will be allow to allow a player to participate in a competition of the opposite gender for half a season at most.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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