Baltic coun­tries agree on al­co­hol pol­icy co­op­er­a­tion

The Baltic Times - - FRONT PAGE - BNS/TBT Staff

Baltic health min­istries at a meet­ing in Vil­nius on Tues­day, May 16, agreed on com­mon plans for de­vel­op­ing al­co­hol, tobacco and healthy eat­ing poli­cies, which in­clude ex­chang­ing in­for­ma­tion and ex­pe­ri­ences re­lated to im­pos­ing re­stric­tions on the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of al­co­hol, equal­iza­tion of tobacco prod­ucts and en­gag­ing in co­op­er­a­tion with the food in­dus­try.

The agreed poli­cies will help to al­le­vi­ate the mor­tal­ity rate as­so­ci­ated with non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases in the Baltics, which is still one of the high­est in the Euro­pean Union, the Es­to­nian Min­istry of So­cial Af­fairs said.

Es­to­nian Min­is­ter of Health and La­bor Jev­geni Ossi­novski said that the meet­ing con­firmed that the three Baltic coun­tries un­der the lead­er­ship of Lithua­nia and Es­to­nia are ready to take am­bi­tious steps to­wards im­prov­ing the health of the pop­u­la­tion and to move to­wards the Nordic coun­tries when it comes to their na­tional health pol­icy.

"The prob­lems and chal­lenges in pub­lic health are sim­i­lar in all three coun­tries. Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­pos­als made by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, in­clud­ing an in­crease in ex­cise duty, have helped im­prove health in­di­ca­tors and de­crease ill­ness and death," Ossi­novski said. "At the same time, we are far away from the Nordic coun­tries, whose so­cial pol­icy and prac­tice to pre­vent ill­ness are an ex­am­ple for all three Baltic coun­tries.“

The par­ties also agreed on com­mon plans to de­velop and im­ple­ment poli­cies that would lessen al­co­hol and tobacco con­sump­tion and in­crease healthy eat­ing.

The Min­is­ter of Health and La­bor Jev­geni Ossi­novski met in Vil­nius on Wed­nes­day with the Lithua­nian Min­is­ter of Health Aure­li­jus Veryga and Karlis Ket­ners, State Sec­re­tary of the Lat­vian Min­istry of Health.

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