Iceland Debates Making Cigarettes Prescription-Only

Country will consider banning normal sales
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2011 8:35 AM CDT
In this file photo taken Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, a person smokes a Marlboro cigarette, in Hialeah, Fla.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, file)

(Newser) – In Iceland, you may soon need to head to the pharmacy to get your cigarettes. The country is considering a counter-intuitive measure that would make cigarettes a prescription-only product. The bill would ban the sale of cigarettes anywhere except pharmacies, and would initially require pharmacies to sell cigarettes only to those 20 or older as doctors helped addicts to quit. Eventually, those for whom treatment and educational programs don't work would be given a prescription, and only those people would be allowed to purchase cigarettes.

The proposed bill is part of a 10-year plan looking to ban smoking in all public spaces—even outdoors—as well as in cars with children, the Guardian reports. The proposal would also increase cigarette prices by 10% per year, but ultimately the prescription-only cigarettes would be cheaper than ever: "Under our plan, smokers who are given prescriptions will be diagnosed as addicts, and we don't think the government should tax addicts," says one expert. But, while one political adviser calls the proposal "very serious," she adds that she doubts it will become law.

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