Slovenian National Assembly passes strong tobacco control law

With a vote of 61–0, Slovenia’s National Assembly unanimously adopted a new tobacco control law on 15 February 2017. The law transposes the European Union Tobacco Products Directive and includes measures such as plain packaging, a ban on smoking in private cars in the presence of minors, licensing to sell tobacco products, a display ban at the point of sale and an increase and earmarking of excise tax. The new law also addresses the sale and advertising of electronic cigarettes.

In her address to the National Assembly, Minister of Health Milojka Kolar Celarc stated, "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." The Minister expressed her vision of a tobacco-free future for Slovenia – where less than 5% of the population smokes – and her commitment to denormalize smoking. “Smoking killed more people than both world wars, yet it is still being shown to underage people as something that is quite ordinary and highly acceptable,” she said.

The strong legislation is a major development for tobacco control in the country, as well as in the south-eastern WHO European Region. By adopting this law, Slovenia joins the group of countries around the world leading the enforcement of plain packaging, begun by Australia in 2012.