By Chris King •
Published: 28 Nov 2023 • 21:10
Image of cigarettes.
THE parliamentary working group on smoking approved this Tuesday, November 28, the transposition into Portuguese law of the European directive on smoking.
A parliamentary source informed Lusa that Portugal had to adopt this directive as a matter of urgency, otherwise it would be in breach.
According to publico.pt, the group voted on the new tobacco law, but only on the total equalisation of the electronic cigarette regulations with traditional tobacco.
As a result, all the controversial amendments to the current smoking laws, such as the ban on the sale and consumption of tobacco near schools, in petrol stations or on partially covered terraces, were removed from the government’s bill.
Maria Antónia Almeida Santos, one of the MPs in today’s health committee voting group, explained: ‘What we voted on was simply the transposition of the European Union directive, because that’s what was urgently needed. Portugal had deadlines and the deadline had passed’.
‘Before parliament was dissolved, we all managed to agree’, she continued, referring to the position of the parliamentary groups to ensure compliance with the European directive.
Other issues related to health promotion and the sale of tobacco products will be left for another time Santos added. After today’s decision, it will now be put to a final vote in parliament this week.
Following the political crisis generated by the resignation of Prime Minister António Costa and the dissolution of parliament as part of a judicial investigation, the tobacco law was one of the pieces of legislation at risk of not coming into force.
The government’s bill was approved at the end of September and went down to the Health Committee. It subsequently only received votes in favour from the majority of the Socialist Party (PS) bench. Chega, IL and BE voted against, while PSD, PCP, PAN and Livre abstained.
Its text at that time equated traditional tobacco with heated tobacco, tightened the ban on sales in vending machines, and prohibited smoking outdoors near schools, colleges and hospitals.
Until the dissolution of parliament takes place, which is scheduled for mid-January, it will stay in full session. That gives MPs a few weeks to approve the most important pieces of legislation, but the respective processes will have to be greatly accelerated in view of the changes to the timetable, reported cmjornal.pt.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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