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Issue 124, 27 February 2014


Your gateway to trustworthy information on public health

New EU tobacco control measures

Linda McAvan, Member of the European Parliament, Rapporteur on the Tobacco Products Directive

Linda McAvan, Member of the European Parliament, Rapporteur on the Tobacco Products Directive

Today, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the EU. While a series of hard-fought tobacco control measures have cut the number of smokers in the EU, there is a worrying drift among young people. The vast majority of smokers start when they are children, not adults - 70% of smokers begin before their 18th birthday, many younger still.  The main focus of the new Directive is therefore to make it harder for tobacco companies to recruit children. The new measures include bigger and more prominent graphic health warnings, which are proven to be effective in deterring non-smokers from picking up their first pack of cigarettes. The law will also ban gimmicky products, like pretty, slim "lipstick" packs and flavourings, which the tobacco industry uses to attract young people.  The fast emerging market in electronic cigarettes will be regulated for the first time - so that smokers who use e-cigarettes to substitute can be confident that the products they buy are safe, effective, good quality, and properly labelled. 

We often assume that Europe is ahead of the curve on public health measures, but on tobacco control measures we have started to fall behind: 63 countries already require picture warnings and Brazil, Australia, the USA and Canada all have lower smoking rates than the EU. So this Directive is essential if we are to catch up and come into line with our obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Finding agreement has certainly taken a lot of hard work from a team of very committed people in the European Commission, national health ministries, the European Parliament and the public health community.    But the benefits will be very real.   One in two smokers dies of tobacco related diseases.    By adopting the Tobacco Products Directive, we hope to see the upward trend in young people starting to smoke reversed.

In this edition

News » 
EU Health Prize for Journalists – Articles » 
Health Programme Projects » 
Activities at EU level » 
Other interesting links » 
  Previous editions
  Suggest news and events
  Send to a friend


Revised Tobacco Products Directive now adopted by the European Parliament  »

The revised Tobacco Products Directive governing the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products was formally approved by the European Parliament on 26 February 2014, boosting health protection for EU citizens.

Commissioner Tonio Borg welcomes Parliament's positive vote on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive  »

The European Parliament's approval of the Tobacco Products Directive revision is one of the final steps before entry into force of the new rules governing the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products in the EU.

Questions & Answers: New rules for tobacco products  »

Find out what changes to expect from the new Tobacco Products Directive.

Only where there's smoke there's fire? Break the myths about e-cigarettes  »

Are e-cigarettes harmless or deceptive and dangerous? The European Commission's e-cigarette myth buster helps sort fact from fiction.

Info-graphic on smoking risks paints clear picture  »

It's hard to deny truth when you see it in plain black and white - a European Commission fact-sheet on Tobacco in the EU shows that smoking causes 700,000 deaths a year, more than the combined number caused by car and work accidents, AIDS, suicides, homicides and drugs.

EU Health Prize for Journalists – Articles 

'Thick Air', by Tobias Zack, 2012 overall winner of the special prize on Smoking Cessation  »

The article presents a comprehensive overview of tobacco use and smoking cessation issues in Germany, covering history, politics, law and philosophy.

'Skoteino, the village on Crete that turned its back on smoking decades ago', by Foteini Eleftheriou, 2012 special prize Smoking Cessation winner for Greece  »

The article brings to the fore the strange case of a non-smoking town in Europe that can serve as an example to all European countries.

'The Tobacco Conspiracy', by Stephane Foucart, 2012 special prize Smoking Cessation winner for France  »

The article emphasizes many of the findings of the historian Robert Practor, who has compiled confidential documents about smoking companies.

'Journey into the world of tobacco; Four ex-smokers confess', by Célia Rosa, 2012 special prize Smoking Cessation winner for Portugal  »

The article is a compilation of four people's confessions on how they came to realise smoking was endangering their health and even their lives.

'As soon as they said those three words - ‘Dad has cancer’ – nothing would ever be the same again', by Sarah Swain, 2012 special prize Smoking Cessation winner for the United Kingdom  »

The article tells the story of the author's father who died of lung cancer when he was 51, 15 years after having quit smoking.

Read all the articles in the smoking cessation category: 2012 Prize  »

Read all the articles in the smoking cessation category: 2011 Prize  »



Health Programme Projects 

Capacity Building: How to make Tobacco Tax Trendy (TobTaxy)  »

The TobTaxy capacity building project will train the public health/tobacco control community on tax and illicit trade issues so that they can effectively support on-going European and international policy initiatives.

European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention  »

ENSP is an international non-profit association which aims to reduce tobacco consumption and to develop a common strategy amongst organisations active in tobacco control throughout Europe.

Access strategies for teen smoking cessation in Europe  »

ACCESS aims at developing guidelines on how to motivate adolescents to use existing smoking cessation aids.



Activities at EU level 

Public Health – Tobacco  »

European Commission – Public Health

EU anti-tobacco campaigns  »

European Commission – Public Health

Other interesting links 

SFP – Smoke Free Partnership  »

World Health Organisation – Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)  »

PPACTE – Pricing Policies and Control of Tobacco in Europe  »

ENSP - European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention  »

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