BORIS MARTIN/AFP/Getty ImagesA Danish parliament has passed a bill that would allow tobacco consumption at schools and universities in an effort to curb tobacco-related diseases in the country.
The new bill, which passed the parliament on Tuesday, gives school authorities the right to impose a three-month ban on tobacco consumption and bans tobacco vending machines.
It also gives university administrators the power to ban tobacco use in all university-owned shops.
It comes just days after Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who previously advocated for banning tobacco in schools, warned the bill could hurt the country’s economy.
He told reporters on Thursday that Denmark has a “vast majority” in favor of the ban and called on lawmakers to give him the legal power to enact it.
In response to the bill, Swedish lawmaker Lars Kahl, who has been campaigning for the legislation, said he has “serious reservations” about the law.
“I’m not in favor, I’m not sure about the effect it would have, but I’m going to take a close look at it,” he told Swedish news agency TT.
The bill, if enacted, would go into effect in 2019.
The bill was proposed in response to a 2014 study by the Copenhagen-based International Tobacco Control Research Institute that found a sharp rise in the number of deaths from tobacco-induced illnesses in Denmark in the past few years.
In a press release on Tuesday afternoon, the government said the new law would allow students to use tobacco at their own schools, universities and in other institutions without having to obtain a permit.
The government has been criticized for not following the recommendations of the research institute, which found that the number one reason young people smoked cigarettes in the United States was because of poor access to nicotine-containing products.
A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year found that more than 50 percent of children and adolescents who smoke in the U, Canada and Australia used tobacco.