Proposed Bill Would Raise Latvia’s Nicotine Age Limit to 20

Latvia’s parliament approved amendments in the second reading, proposing a tobacco/nicotine age limit and a vape flavour ban.

The 2019 Eurostat data had indicated that 18.4% of the total EU population aged 15 years and above reported that they were daily cigarette smokers. Bulgaria had the highest smoking rates at 28.7%, followed by Greece are Latvia at 22.1%.

The proposed amendments would see tobacco and nicotine alternative products such as vapes and their components, banned to anyone aged below 20, while also banning vape flavours in general. During a second reading of the bill, 79 parliamentary members voted in favor while 6 voted against. In order for the measure to be passed into law a third and final reading is required.

Are tobacco age limits effective?
Meanwhile, a 2021 study carried out to examine the effectivity of a tobacco age limit set in California in 2016, found that the new T21 (tobacco 21) law was indeed associated with a greater decrease in use, at least when it came to daily smoking.

The study titled, “Smoking behavior in 18–20 year-olds after tobacco 21 policy implementation in California: A difference-in-differences analysis with other states,” was published in Preventive Medicine and examined local smoking patterns after the state set in place the first tobacco 21 (T21) policies.

UC Davis researchers Melanie Dove, Susan Stewart and Elisa Tong, analysed such patterns before and after the law was implemented. Subsequently, they compared California to other states which don’t have a T21 policy in place, examining data  from the 2012-2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The study “Before California’s T21 policy, there was an 11% annual decrease in the odds of ever smoking among 18–20 year-olds in California and a 6% decrease in the referent states. After the policy, these trends did not change significantly. Results for current smoking were similar. For daily smoking, there was an 8% annual decrease before the policy and a 26% annual decrease after the policy among 18–20 year-olds in California; D-I-D estimates were 0.80 (95% CI: 0.57, 1.14) using referent states as the comparison and 0.62 (95% CI: 0.41, 0.95) using 21–23 year-olds in California as the comparison,” reported the study Abstract.