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HEALTH

Denmark presents plan to ban cigarette sales for next generations

Denmark unveiled plans on Tuesday to ensure that future generations are tobacco-free, and is considering banning the sale of cigarettes and other nicotine products to anyone born after 2010.

denmark health plan presentation
Denmark presented a new health plan on March 15th 2022, including a proposed future ban on cigarette sales for younger generations. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

“Our hope is that all people born in 2010 and later will never start smoking or using nicotine-based products”, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke told reporters.

“If necessary, we are ready to ban the sale (of these products) to this generation by progressively raising the age limit,” he said.

Currently, Danes must be 18 years old to buy cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

According to the health ministry, around 31 percent of 15-to-29-year-olds smoke.

Smoking is the main cause of cancer in the Nordic country of 5.8 million people, and responsible for 13,600 deaths per year.

A poll commissioned by the Danish Cancer Society showed that 64 percent of people surveyed were in favour of the Danish government’s plan, and 67 percent among those aged 18-34.

New Zealand in December announced a pioneering plan to ban the sale of tobacco by progressively raising the age limit as of 2027.

In Denmark, the Social Democratic government said it also plans to address youths’ alcohol consumption.

It will raise the legal age for purchases of drinks containing less than 16.5 percent alcohol from 16 to 18.

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

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HEALTH

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.

READ ALSO: Denmark takes ‘far too long’ to approve qualifications of foreign medics, nurses 

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