Danish city prepares outdoor smoking ban

Politicians in the Jutland city of Randers are eyeing a far-reaching smoking ban as part of its plan to drastically cut down the number of smokers over the next decade.

Danish city prepares outdoor smoking ban
Smoking at playgrounds and parks would be banned under the proposal. Photo: Scanpix
Smoking in all municipal buildings, playgrounds and public parks will be banned if a proposal in Randers goes through as planned. 
Randers Municipality recently approved a new health policy that aims to bring the percentage of city residents who smoke down to just five percent. In order to reach that goal, city officials are planning a comprehensive smoking ban along with support programmes to help residents kick the habit.
“There will be signs set up, for example in municipal parks. In that way, we will appeal to people not to smoke. But there won’t be consequences. It should be seen as a recommendation,” Lene Jensen, the head of health affairs at Randers Municipality, told local newspaper Randers Amtsavis. 
The officials’ plan also calls for a complete smoking ban for municipal employees during working hours. 
The anti-smoking initiatives have been warmly received in preliminary hearings and a final vote is expected this week. 
Popular opinion appears to be against the far-reaching proposal. Some 70 percent of readers of the tabloid BT said that banning outdoor smoking goes too far and 68 percent said that they hoped that the Randers policy would not be extended to other Danish cities. 

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Danish government to increase price of cigarettes

Denmark’s government says it should be more expensive to buy cigarettes in the Scandinavian country and has proposed raising the price of a packet to 50 kroner (6.70 euros).

Danish government to increase price of cigarettes
File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The price hike from the current 40 kroner will take place in two stages, with a 5 krone increase in both 2020 and 2021, according to Danish media reports.

Several parties in the country’s parliament have expressed their desire to raise cigarette prices, but social and health minister Magnus Heunicke said he was concerned about the social impact of a steep increase.

“We can’t have different prices in Denmark. For young people, that is a lot of money, so we think this is the right level,” the minister said to the Danmark media.

The price raise is part of a wider range of proposals to be presented by the government aimed at reducing the number of young people who smoke. Other elements include neutral packaging and a ban on displaying cigarettes in stores.

Heunicke also called for stricter application of the law preventing cigarette sales to under 18s and harsher fines for illegal sales.

Opposition health spokesperson Sophie Løhde of the Liberal party said the increase proposed by the Social Democrat government did not go far enough.

“I’m very disappointed. The health minister seems to think he’s the tax minister and that revenues [from taxing tobacco sales, ed.] are more important than the goal of making young people and children smoke-free,” Løhde said.

The Liberals recently called for a price increase to 60 kroner per packet of cigarettes.

Løhde also said there may be enough support amongst other parties for a parliamentary majority to get behind a higher price increase, even without government support.

READ ALSO: A packet of cigarettes could soon cost 50 percent more in Denmark