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On April 8, 2019, the Constitutional Court upheld the Tobacco Control Law’s provision banning tobacco sales from commercial establishments that are smaller than 20 m^2 (i.e., kiosks) and are located within 200 meters of educational and healthcare facilities. This provision was adopted in May 2015 and came into force on September 17, 2015, but the Moldovan Parliament passed an amendment delaying the effective date to January 1, 2019 for commercial establishments that were in existence before July 1, 2016.
A Member of Parliament filed a complaint alleging that the provision violated several articles of the Constitution, including equal protection, freedom of commerce and entrepreneurial activity, and protection of fair competition, among others.
In upholding the measure, the court concluded that the policy serves a legitimate aim – limiting access by minors and protecting the health of minors and patients – and there were no less restrictive alternative measures that would be as effective in achieving the objectives. The court also cited the four-year delay in implementation given to existing commercial establishments, concluding that this time period provided sufficient time to adapt to the new sales restrictions. The decision is final and cannot be appealed.
A Moldovan national complained of violations of his human rights during his detention and imprisonment by the Moldovan government. The plaintiff alleged that the overcrowded, unsanitary and smoke-filled facilities constituted inhumane and degrading treatment. The plaintiff’s asthma was significantly aggravated by being held in a non-ventilated room with smokers for 23 hours per day. He was further denied any medication for his condition. He also alleged that he was denied contact with his family and access to an effective remedy for his complaints during his imprisonment. The court ultimately held that his treatment, including his exposure to cigarette smoke, amounted to violations of the Human Rights Convention and assessed damages owed to the plaintiff of 4,500 euros.
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