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Public Health (30-06-2009)
Commission calls for a Smoke Free Europe by 2012
Today, after extensive consultation, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation calling on all Member States to bring in comprehensive smoke-free laws by 2012.
The Recommendation calls on Member States to act in three main fronts:
- Adopt and implement laws to fully protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke in enclosed public places, workplaces and public transport as cited in Article 8 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco control, within three years of the adoption of the Recommendation.
- Enhance smoke-free laws with supporting measures such as protecting children, encouraging efforts to give up tobacco use and mandating pictorial warnings on tobacco packages.
- Strengthen cooperation at EU level by setting up a network of national focal points for tobacco control.
Tobacco remains the largest single cause of premature death and disease in the European Union. According to conservative estimates, 79 000 adults, including 19 000 non-smokers, died in the EU-25 in 2002 due to exposure to tobacco smoke at home (72 000) and in their workplace (7 300).
Currently, ten EU countries have comprehensive smoke-free laws in place. UK and Ireland have the strictest smoke-free provisions with a complete ban on smoking in enclosed public places, on public transport and in workplaces. Bulgaria is due to introduce such a complete ban in 2010.
A recent Eurobarometer poll suggests that popularity is mounting for smoke-free policies with 84% of Europeans supporting smoke-free offices and other indoor workplaces; 77% in favour of smoke-free restaurants, and 61% supporting smoke-free bars and pubs.
Proposal for a Recommendation
Questions and answers:
Overview of Member States' smoke-free regulations: