Health minister rejects more wine and tobacco restrictions

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A commission of health care experts has proposed a new list of restrictions to further discourage consumption of tobacco and alcohol but Heath Minister Jonas Gahr Støre apparently thinks they went a bit far. He quickly rejected several of their recommendations.

The commission wanted to ban chewing tobacco in Norway known as snus, and limit sales of already highly-taxed cigarettes to those over the age of 20. Its members also recommended banning the sale of wine in the three-liter cartons that have become popular in recent years, on the grounds those buying the so-called pappvin (“bag-in-box” wines) end up drinking more wine than they would if they could only purchase it in bottles.

The commission was charged with evaluating how Norway can reduce the rate of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, heart trouble and lung disease. Støre, however, said he didn’t want to ban snus or boxed wines, nor would he go along with another proposal to relegate all sales of beer with alcohol levels of more than 3.5 percent to the state-run liquor store chain Vinmonopolet.

Another group has also recommended banning alcoholic beverages from hotel mini-bars in Norway, on the grounds they tempt more alcohol consumption among hotel guests and can be enjoyed by those under the legal drinking age of 18. That proposal was expected to meet resistance as well, given Norway’s punitive taxes and high prices that already are meant to deter consumption.

newsinenglish.no staff