Marketing and labelling

Advertising and other promotion of tobacco products has been prohibited in Finland since 1978.

Marketing was further restricted when tobacco products were banned from being displayed in retail outlets in 2010, with the exception of specialized stores. With the comprehensive reform of the Tobacco Act in 2016, the bans on marketing (including the display ban) were extended to apply to, for example, electronic cigarettes and the liquids used in them.

In May 2022, the display ban extended to smoking accessories intended for the use of a heated tobacco products. An exemption to the display ban is provided for so-called specialized stores, such as tobacco stores and electronic cigarette stores, provided that the products and their trademarks cannot be seen from outside the place of sale.

Display ban

Because the marketing of tobacco products is prohibited, the visual layout of the packaging is a key marketing channel, as is the placement of the products in daily retail environments. In Finland, visible display of tobacco products at sales outlets is prohibited.

The display ban also covers electronic cigarettes, nicotine liquids, cigarette substitutes and their brands.  The display ban does not apply to stores that are focused on the sales of tobacco and nicotine products and have a separate entrance (including the so-called tobacco stores) or sales on international marine traffic vessels.

Labelling of the unit packets

Tobacco packages must include:

  • text warnings in Finnish and in Swedish;
  • picture warnings of the adverse health effects of tobacco products;
  • an information message about the harmfulness of tobacco smoke;
  • smoking cessation information, and
  • a unique identifier to ensure the traceability of the unit packet and a tamper-proof security feature.

The combined text and picture warnings are selected from the European Commission’s picture archive of combined picture warnings.

According to the Tobacco Act

  • tobacco products,
  • electronic cigarettes,
  • refill containers,
  • herbal products for smoking, and
  • nicotine liquids and nicotine-free liquids intended for vaporising  can only be sold in retail packaging meeting the requirements set in legislation.

The minimum size  of a unit packet of a tobacco product is 20 cigarettes, 30 g of roll-your-own or pipe tobacco, or 10 cigarillos.

The labelling of tobacco products and their unit packets shall not, for example,

  • promote the sales of the product by creating an erroneous impression regarding its characteristics, health effects, risks or emissions,
  • include any information about the nicotine, tar or carbon monoxide content of the product,
  • suggest that the product is less harmful than others or that the product has vitalising and energising properties.
  • All kind of marketing of tobacco products is prohibited in Finland, this includes also so called indirect marketing and sponsoring.
  • The provisions in force in the Tobacco Act are mainly very comprehensive in terms of marketing.
  • However, the tobacco industry has found different ways to market its products both in traditional brick-and-mortar stores and online.