According to a press release from the USR, the legislation in force states that the sale of alcohol and cigarettes to minors is prohibited, but the rule is often violated on the grounds that the seller cannot verify the age of the customers.
“We have a moral duty as a society to protect our children. We have the highest rate of smoking among teenagers in Europe. Three quarters of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18. Alcohol is also consumed at a young age. All of these harmful, addictive behaviors are happening before our eyes. We have all seen children buying cigarettes in Romania. Through the submitted project, we want to offer another tool, an exhortation to responsibility, to economic operators: the possibility to legitimize when selling alcohol and tobacco. The disease burden of the next generation depends on us. I want us to be responsible. I want us to protect Romania’s children”, said Adrian Wiener, USR deputy and doctor.
According to a 2019 Save the Children report cited by USR, 15% of adult smokers in Romania declared that they started smoking before they turned 14, and 38%, before they turned 18.
“It is in our power and, at the same time, it is our obligation to protect children from vices that can have significant negative consequences on their physical and mental development. The statistics in the field are increasingly worrying and we cannot remain passive. Checking the age of buyers in the case of tobacco and alcohol is an important measure to prevent minors from accessing these products and to reduce their consumption at a young age”, states Ionuţ Moşteanu, the leader of the USR group in the Chamber of Deputies.
The initiators want Law 349/2002 to be amended and to provide that “in order to verify the age of the buyers of tobacco products, the sellers in the units that sell tobacco products will be able to request the consultation of the identity documents of the buyers”. In turn, Law 61/1991 is to be amended, and the staff of public places and sellers in units that sell alcoholic beverages will be able to request the consultation of the identity documents of the customers, when there are suspicions that they are minors.
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