A 16 year old can buy cigarettes

Tobacco industry introduces new rules: cigarettes are only available across Switzerland from the age of 18

Tobacco industry introduces new rules: cigarettes are only available across Switzerland from the age of 18

Today minors can also buy cigarettes in 15 cantons. A law should change this. The tobacco industry is now ahead of politics.

The purchase of cigarettes should only be allowed across Switzerland from the age of 18. Retailers and representatives of the Swiss tobacco industry have agreed on this. Aldi, Denner, Coop and cigarette manufacturers such as JTI, BAT and Philip Morris signed the Codex. Among other things, the industry undertakes to carry out age checks before the sale. It also refrains from advertising that is specifically aimed at minors. Violations should be sanctioned. The Codex comes into force immediately.

The industry is thus ahead of the Federal Council, which wants to set the age limit for cigarette purchases at 18 throughout Switzerland. The corresponding message on the Tobacco Products Act has been with Parliament since the end of November and is to be discussed there soon. The law is not scheduled to come into force until mid-2022.

The age limit of 18 for tobacco cigarettes only applies today in the eleven cantons of Bern, Basel-Land, Basel-Stadt, Jura, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden and Obwalden, Schaffhausen, Ticino, Vaud and Zug. In the twelve cantons of Aargau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Freiburg, Glarus, Graubünden, Lucerne, St. Gallen, Solothurn, Thurgau, Uri, Wallis and Zurich, young people aged 16 and over can now buy cigarettes and tobacco products. Appenzell Innerrhoden, Geneva and Schwyz do not have any regulations on the age of delivery.

Criticism from the Lung League

The tobacco industry had already introduced the minimum age 18 for e-cigarettes in the form of self-regulation on October 1, 2018. At the beginning of 2019, the kiosk operator Valora had already decided to only sell cigarettes and other tobacco products throughout Switzerland to customers who are at least 18 years old.

The Codex does not go far enough for the Swiss Lung League. Claudia Künzli, Project Manager Politics and Health Promotion, says: "With its self-regulation code, the tobacco industry wants to prevent the inclusion of stricter regulations in the Tobacco Products Act." Studies have shown that only a strict ban on tobacco advertising has an effect on the number of smokers, as some of the bans only lead to a shift to other advertising channels. "The tobacco industry is not primarily concerned with acting responsibly for the protection of minors, but with marketing and selling a product that kills 9,500 people in Switzerland every year," criticizes Künzli.