Since January 2019, Belgium was the last remaining country that allowed minors to purchase cigarettes. This is no longer the case, as it has finally joined the rest of the EU member states in banning cigarette sales to minors.
Belgium’s House of Representatives passed the new law almost unanimously (only members from the Open VLD abstained). Up until recently, it was possible for teenagers over sixteen years old to purchase cigarettes. This new law will push back the legal age and will thus help protect young people’s developing brains and the dangers of nicotine. Following this vote, the Alliance for a Tobacco Free Society said it was very happy about the news.
Towards a tobacco-free generation in Belgium?
At the same time, the House of Representatives approved a law to ban smoking in vehicles where children are present, with the goal of reducing dangers of second-hand smoke. The Alliance is very pleased with this news as well, and believes that it can only help lead to a new generation of non-smokers in Belgium.
The anti-tobacco collective has made clear, however, that these new laws are just the beginning, not the end. In fact, anti-smoking policies can only be carried out if the government is unified, since this is the only way to prevent young people from smoking and from becoming addicted to cigarettes.
Belgium is preparing to launch a new “Smoke-Free Beaches” campaign this summer. This will involve creating zones for non-smokers along the coast, including in the town of Ostende, amongst others.