Denmark considers permanent ban on cigarette sales for people born after 2010

Denmark’s government is considering a historic law change which could see the sale of cigarettes permanently banned in the Nordic country for people born after 2010.

Denmark could enact a preemptive, permanent ban on cigarette sales for people born after 2010. Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

The government is considering a law change which would prevent anyone currently aged 12 or under from ever buying cigarettes in Denmark.

People under 18 are not legally allowed to purchase cigarettes under current Danish laws, so although the ban would not have an effect for six years, it would prevent people born after 2010 from ever buying cigarettes, political media Altinget reports.

The law change could be included in an upcoming political reform package for the health sector. The government is at an advanced stage of considerations to include the proposal in its reforms, the media writes.

“This would put Denmark in a supreme first place in tobacco prevention globally. Smoking is so dangerous that it is necessary for politicians to ensure a future in which no one smokes,” Morten Grønbæk, director of the National Institute of Public Health, told Altinget.

Any proposal to implement the future ban would need parliamentary backing for a bill tabled by the minority government.

“Smoking is one of the biggest causes of inequality in society. So this would be a good lever,” Peder Hvelplund, health spokesperson with the left wing party Red Green Alliance, told newspaper BT.

“We know that the tobacco industry conducts overly aggressive campaigns aimed at young people, where they are tempted with a range of different nicotine products that lead, in the end, to smoking. This would be an attempt to put the brakes on that completely,” he said.

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Denmark considers moving outpatient nurses to night shifts to ease shortage

Danish hospitals could ask nurses that usually work in outpatient services to cover night and weekend shifts in an effort to ease a lack of staff cover.

Denmark considers moving outpatient nurses to night shifts to ease shortage

The Danish Regions, the elected bodies which operate hospitals in Denmark’s five regions, are considering a plan to require nurses who work at outpatient clinics to fill night and weekend shifts in hospitals, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports.

The policy would aim to prevent hospital nurses — particularly those working in intensive care, surgery, and emergency departments — from leaving the public system for more favourable working conditions at private clinics. 

Nurses in departments with shift rotas bear the brunt of a nurse labour shortage, meaning many must take on an untenable number of night and weekend shifts as many of their colleagues leave, according to the report.

“The lack of staff is currently the biggest challenge for the health service and a more transparent and fair rota, in which staff have an input on their schedules, is one of the most important keys to becoming a more attractive place of work and retaining personnel,” Stephanie Lose, chair of the Southern Denmark regional council and vice-president of the Danish Regions, told Jyllands-Posten.

“We have to share the heavy on-call load on to more shoulders, and our clear message is that all hospitals must work with this systematically in all areas, otherwise we will not achieve our goal,” she said.

The Danish Regions want to base the plan on a model already used in the South Denmark region, according to Jyllands-Posten.

This would mean staff having rotas with at least eight weeks’ notice, and weekend shifts no more often than every third week.

The Regions also propose that nurses employed in outpatient clinics spend a third of their working time on the schedule in an inpatient ward.

The leader of Danish trade union for nurses DSR, Grete Christensen, did not dismiss the prospect in comments to Jyllands-Posten.

Christensen warned against forcing all hospitals and departments to comply with a defined model, however.

She said that the essence of the problem is a lack of nurses in the public health system.

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