Protection of children and adolescents from the consequences of using tobacco products in Polish tobacco control law: Current status and perspectives
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Department of Commercial Law, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland
Department of Public Health & Social Medicine, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland
Publication date: 2020-10-22
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(Supplement):A19
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The use of tobacco products in Poland is very widespread. It is estimated that about one-third of adolescents admit to smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products. Polish tobacco control law is an essential tool for tobacco prevention among children and adolescents; however, the content of the regulations raises many doubts as to their effectiveness.

The study aimed to determine whether Polish tobacco control law, following international law and European Union law, protects children and young people from using tobacco products, and in what areas statutory changes are required.

The tobacco control law in Poland was analyzed in terms of its compliance with international law, including the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and European Union law, in particular, Directive 2014/40/EU of the European Parliament and the Council.

Many regulations included in the Polish tobacco control law are not in accordance with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and European Union law. Also, the Polish tobacco control law raises many interpretation doubts, which prevents its practical application. For example, further statutory changes extending the areas of smoking bans, beyond public areas, are necessary to fully implement children’s right to health protection. Changes are also needed to the legal definitions of advertising and promotion of nicotine-containing products. In the Polish law the concept of ‘sponsorship’ is much narrower than in the FCTC. The regulations regarding the sale of tobacco products to persons aged <18 years also do not fulfil the obligations under the FCTC.

Tobacco Control Law in Poland is not an effective tool for protecting the health of children and young people. Statutory changes are necessary so that Polish legal regulations regarding the protection of children’s and youth’s health from the consequences of using tobacco products would be in accordance with international law and EU law.

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