Senators will decide today whether it will be difficult for smokers to exchange cigarettes for nicotine in another, less harmful form. The MPs want to consolidate public finances also by banning smokers from being offered to buy less risky nicotine instead of cigarettes at a discount or in any sales event. The ban was added to the consolidation package, which the Ministry of Finance wants to slow down the indebtedness of the state treasury.
If the senators approve the proposal in parliamentary form, then a smoker who comes to a tobacconist to buy cigarettes must no longer hear that he could buy a starter set of several refills and a device for heating tobacco at a discount instead of cigarettes. The same goes for electronic cigarettes or nicotine pouches. They don’t even contain any tobacco.
“Nicotine as such is practically not dangerous, even if it is addictive. It is true that people smoke because of nicotine, but they die because of tar from cigarette smoke,” explains Viktor Mravčík, scientific advisor to the National Drug Coordinator. According to him, the riskiness of nicotine use should be perceived on a scale from the most harmful products with burnt tobacco to the least harmful ones that do not contain tobacco.
The government also wants to set the rules this way. In April, she approved the Addiction Policy Action Plan, where she says that the regulation of tobacco products should favor less risky alternatives – the aim is to make smokers more often reach for less risky nicotine in order to reduce the incidence of smoking and its effects on health.
The director of the Institute of Molecular and Translational Medicine of the Palacký University Faculty of Medicine, Marián Hajdúch, pointed out on the X network that the high tax increase on the least harmful forms of tobacco/nicotine, which the government is planning, will lead to the return of smokers to combustible tobacco. “This will reverse the favorable trend of a decrease in the incidence of smoking-related diseases, such as lung cancer, which we have observed since their introduction to the market,” said Marián Hajdúch on the network.
The parliamentary proposal wants to prohibit the sale of nicotine sachets, electronic cigarettes or heated tobacco at a discount, prohibits volume discounts, prohibits the provision of any gifts for purchases, for example also prohibits the loading of club points. At the same time, it is no longer possible to sell the cigarettes themselves at a discount or to give them as a gift.