LJUBLJANA, Slovenia – Slovenia becomes the latest country to pass a plain packaging law for tobacco products, Reuters reports. Australia, Ireland, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom all have plain packaging laws on the books.
The Slovenian parliament unanimously approved the plain packaging law, which will go into effect in 2020. Currently nearly a fourth of Slovenians between the ages of 15 and 64 smoke. “Every day, 10 people in Slovenia die on account of smoking, and we lose as much as 5% of gross domestic product or 1.8 billion euros on account of it,” said Milojka Kolar Celarc, the country’s minister of health.
The law also forbids tobacco product advertisements on television as well as at public events for minors. “Smoking killed more people than both world wars, yet it is still being shown to people under age as something that is quite ordinary and socially acceptable,” Celarc said. The minister pointed out that Slovenia’s aim is to have smokers represent less than 5% of the population.
In December, a U.K. court of appeals ruled in favor of the country’s mandatory plain packaging rule for cigarettes. Meanwhile, in Australia, the illicit cigarette market has exploded in the four years since the country switched to plain packaging. Canada is also considering a plain packaging mandate, which retailers and tobacco firms are fighting.