Hungary – New regulation of tobacco sales introduced

On 22 April 2013, in line with Act CXXXIV “on reducing smoking prevalence among young people and retail of tobacco products” (adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on 11 September 2012), the National Tobacco Trading Nonprofit Company (a 100% Government-owned joint-stock company established by the relevant minister under the mandate of this law) published the names of the applicants who will be allowed to open supervised tobacco stores. From 1 July 2013, around 7000 such stores will begin to operate, a significant reduction from the more than 40,000 retail outlets currently selling tobacco products.

The Act regulates access to and sales of tobacco products and aims to prevent illicit trade in such products by ensuring that they are sold through licensed shops of a supervised system. It is also expected that as a result of the measures contained in the Act it will become more difficult for young people to purchase tobacco products. Sales of tobacco products will only be allowed to people above 18 years of age. If there is any doubt, official documents showing the age of the customer must be provided. Fines may be imposed if retailers do not adhere to this provision.

Pictures or any other depiction of tobacco products or smoking on the external surface of the stores are not allowed. Besides tobacco products, they will only be authorized to sell gambling games, alcoholic drinks, energy drinks, coffee, mineral water and soft drinks, newspapers and magazines.

More information is available from Tibor Demjén, tobacco control focal point, National Institute for Health Development ( ).