The full session of the federal parliament this week approved a proposal to introduce a total ban on the advertising of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The bill was passed by the full parliament with two abstentions, and removes the last remaining exceptions to an earlier ban on conventional advertising.
Those include displays on the frontage of shop and on cigarette displays, as well as lighted signs.
Advertising in the press and on TV and radio are already banned, and a law to force cigarette companies to use neutral packaging has also been passed.
The new rules come into force on 1 January 2021, and an amendment from MR was passed allowing retailers to make their own arrangements to come into line by that deadline.
The parliament also approved a proposal to extend the existing law which bans smoking in cars where minors under the age of 16 are present. The new law will now cover all minors up to the age of 18, as already does the law on the sale of tobacco.
The law on smoking in cars will be enforced at the same time by both police and inspectors from the federal finance ministry, who currently have the responsibility of enforcing the smoking ban in bars and restaurants.
This week Belgium was rated number ten out of 36 European countries for its actions against smoking.
“I have seen too many patients suffer and die from tobacco,” said Catherine Fonck (cdH), one of the authors of the bill, who is herself a physician specialised in nephrology, or ailments of the kidneys.
“This law is made for the young, to protect them from the formidable strategies of the cigarette manufacturers.”
And she vowed to go even further in reducing the number of points of sale of tobacco.
“I’m not going to stop here. France has only twice as many points of sale as Belgium, although it’s six times larger.”
The Brussels Times