In a report published on 14 November, the Federal Commission for the Prevention of Tobacco Use stated, "For decades, the tobacco industry has downplayed the harmful effects of its activity and has blocked Swiss public health policies."
According to the report, this has meant Switzerland has been more lenient towards tobacco regulations, especially when dealing with newer products, such as electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco sticks and other vaping devices. There is currently no set age limit for purchasing these products either, although some states are considering banning their sale to minors. The use of such products is also still permitted in closed public spaces, and they are subject to different taxes and advertising restrictions compared to conventional cigarettes.
Switzerland is currently one of a few countries which have not yet ratified the UN’s agency’s global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), despite being home to the World Health Organisation.
Commission President, Lucrezia Meier-Schatz, told AFP Friday, "The tobacco industry pressure on the political sphere is enormous, and has until now managed to prevent the ratification of this convention." The global and regional headquarters of Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco sit in Switzerland, and, according to the report, the tobacco industry contributes around USD 6.4 billion to the Swiss economy.