After the bans on smoking in the open air already introduced in many countries, it is Iceland’s turn. The Reykjavik Parliament is considering banning cigarettes from shops and allowing their sale only in pharmacies. People over 20 years old could soon be the only persons authorized to buy a packet of cigarettes, but only if they have a doctor’s prescription.
According to the Government and according to the Health Minister Siv Fridleifsdottir, "This initiative is part of a ten-year plan that includes a ban on smoking in public places, including parks and sidewalks, as well as in automobiles where there are children". Iceland also wants to apply the same strategy that will soon be implemented in Australia, where the tobacco manufacturing companies will be obliged to sell cigarettes in plain packages, all the same, without their logos and without colors.
Iceland’s draft law provides that doctors, first of all, encourage smokers to quit through treatments and educational programs. Only if these do not work, the doctor might decide to prescribe cigarettes for his "patient".
Nicotine, moreover, will be classified as a substance that creates strong dependency. Thorarinn Gudnason, president of Icelandic Society of Cardiology, said: "it is as difficult to quit with nicotine as it is with heroin: not in terms of side effects but for the intensity of the withdrawal crisis and the speed with which one becomes addicted.