World No Tobacco Day - protecting the health of citizens
On eve of World No Tobacco Day, taking place on Friday 31 May, Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health and Consumers, thanked the European Parliament for supporting the Commission's proposal on tobacco products. With the upcoming EPSCO Council on 21 June, he called on Europe's Health Ministers for their commitment to protecting the health of our citizens.
Every year, smoking kills almost 700 000 people in Europe and causes millions more to suffer from diseases associated with smoking, including cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Around 50% of smokers die prematurely - on average 14 years earlier than non-smokers and 94% of smokers in the European Union still start smoking before the age of 25.
Therefore the EU is constantly striving to make tobacco products and smoking less attractive to young people. Through legislation the EU can prevent cigarette packages themselves being used as promotional tools. The Commission's proposal aims to put an end to attractive packaging marketed specifically to young people.
Last November, the European Commission adopted a proposal to update the laws on tobacco products, and to protect young people.
The new Directive will be adopted in 2014 and would come into effect from 2015-2016.
European Commission — Infograph on tobacco in the EU