Restrictions on the sale of cigarettes at a distance of less than 200 meters from educational and medical institutions by enterprises with a surface less than 20 square meters was acknowledged constitutional
The Constitutional Court of Moldova delivered this judgment on Monday, having considered the complaint lodged by Simion Grisciuc, who at the material time of was a Member of Parliament. According to Grisciuc, p.6 Art. 25 of the Tobacco Control Act, (“enterprises with a floor space less than 20 square meters selling tobacco products and similar products must be located at least 200 meters from educational and medical-sanitary institutions”) does not apply to other shopping facilities with a larger area. Such a differentiated approach, in the opinion of the complainant, creates conditions for unfair competition between trade enterprises that sell tobacco products, and contradicts several articles of the Moldovan Constitution. The Constitutional Court noted that the regulation of the distance between educational and medical institutions and shopping facilities that sell tobacco products is based on scientific evidence that confirms that there is a link between the proximity of tobacco stalls with the increased level of tobacco consumption by schoolchildren. The Constitutional Court noted that none of the alternative, less prohibitive measures can be compared with the effects of restrictions on the sale of tobacco products near vulnerable groups, as this allows the creation of a protection zone between trade units and educational and health institutions. The Constitutional Court also examined whether stationary and temporary outlets are in a similar situation. "Pavilions, kiosks and other temporary trading establishments may operate in less harsh conditions than stationary establishments, such as shops, supermarkets, mixed stores, etc. Temporary outlets may be located in the most accessible and crowded places, as well as move to other places (that is, at a distance more than 200 m). In addition, temporary trade units provide increased visibility of tobacco products. This provides a greater volume of sales of tobacco products than in stores, supermarkets, mixed stores, etc. Thus, given that tobacco products are the main product for small retailers, these units can be considered the most popular place to buy tobacco products among protected groups. The Constitutional Court also took into account the risk of tobacco sales to minors and considered that stationary commercial institutions have more guarantees (as they are equipped with video cameras) than temporary commercial points. The court proceeded from the assumption that stationary commercial institutions can more strictly observe the ban on the sale of tobacco products to minors than temporary commercial institutions, and considered that the differential treatment existing in this case is justified. As a result, the Constitutional Court rejected the application of Simion Crisciuc and declared constitutional the provisions of paragraph 6 of Art. 25 of the Law on Tobacco Control. // 08.04.2019 - InfoMarket.