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Creeping legislation threatens national smoking habit  

Jump to full article: Copenhagen Post (dk), 2012-02-17
Author: Peter Stanners

Intro:

An increasing number of initiatives are starting to lessen the grip of smokers in Denmark though some argue more needs to be done to bring down tobacco related deaths

Smoking might be becoming less popular in Denmark but the government is still hesitant to cut too deep into smoker's rights, which means it is still permitted in small bars (Photos: Scanpix). At bottom, one of the pictures that must now be included on cigarette packages. This one states "Smoking shortens your life"

In a modern and sophisticated country, looked up to for its welfare state, the popularity of smoking is a stain on an otherwise positive international reputation.

But a variety of initiatives, laws and public statements made over the past few months seem to suggest that smoking in Denmark isn’t quite as cool as it used to be.

Most recently, a debate was triggered when the health spokesperson for government party Radikale, Camilla Hersom, said that she would ban cigarettes in Denmark in a perfect world. . . .

So while attempts are being made to limit smoking in Denmark, there is still a resistance to fully embracing a tobacco-free culture. And while there are some positive signs – 400,000 Danes have quit smoking since 2007 according to the health ministry – 4,500 Danes still die every year from tobacco-related cancers.

For now then, Danes in smoky ‘brown bodegas’ and cabinet members in their own offices will continue to smoke cigarettes whose prices are kept low by manufacturers who sell packs of 18 or 19 instead of 20 in order to balance out increases to tobacco taxes such as the three kroner added over new year – a practice outlawed in Germany but perhaps not unsurprisingly in Denmark.

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