Health-EU Newsletter

Issue 91, 31 May 2012

In this edition


World No Tobacco Day – 'Ex-smokers are unstoppable' campaign

By Despina Spanou, Principal Adviser, Directorate–General for Health and Consumers

Tobacco is often quoted as a personal lifestyle choice for which there should be no regulatory intervention. As a matter of fact, tobacco is one of the four risk factors that lead to chronic disease, today responsible for 63% of all deaths in the world. As striking as this may be, people continue to smoke; in fact the Eurobarometer published by the European Commission today shows that almost one in three young people in the EU are smokers. Moreover, a striking 70% of all smokers and ex-smokers took up the habit before the age of 18. This is why awareness from an early age is important and for that reason the European Commission has promoted tobacco awareness campaigns as an important element of its tobacco policy.


The 'Ex-smokers are unstoppable' is the most recent EU campaign aiming at helping smokers and ex-smokers kick away their addiction through practical advice and tools which allow them to stay smoke free. Through promotion in print, digital and social media, the campaign has reached over 300 million Europeans so far.


As the campaign targets 25-35 year olds,  it is adapted to their reality. Taking for granted that any European of that age is aware of the risks of smoking for their health, it takes a positive approach towards quitting smoking, explaining the multiple benefits for young people who manage to get rid of their addiction, providing them with tools in the environments they are used to, such as online, digital and social media.


The iCoach is the tool that provides practical help – so far 170,000 Europeans have used it. It is innovative by adapting to the needs of the user, whether a smoker or an ex-smoker who wants to remain so. It is interactive and it is, of course, free!


On the occasion of this year's World No Tobacco Day, the European Commission boosts its efforts further by launching a new phase of the campaign, including the first in-flight smoking cessation card featuring tips on giving up smoking. The idea is for that last cigarette one smokes before entering the airport for a flight to become the last cigarette – the means to freedom from addiction, the beginning of a journey to a healthier and thus happier tobacco-free life.


At a conservative estimate, tobacco kills over 695,000 people each year in the EU. Smoking still remains the largest single cause of preventable death and disease in Europe. This is why over the past 10 years the EU has consistently shown strong leadership in global tobacco control. We now know this also responds to our citizens expectations: the Eurobarometer published this week shows that the large majority of EU citizens welcomes stronger tobacco control measures.


We hope that our campaign delivers results by bringing about a real change in the number of smokers around the EU. During the current challenging times, we all need positive change; this is the spirit and the aim of our 'Ex-smokers are unstoppable' campaign.

News from the EU

Have your say about the Health–EU portal

Help us to evaluate the portal by taking part in our online survey.

Commission publishes new Eurobarometer on smoking habits

There has been a substantial fall in the proportion of people exposed to tobacco smoke in restaurants and bars reflecting the stricter regulations on smoking in public places that have been introduced in many Member States since 2009.

A new vision of healthcare for Europe

Report from the EU Task Force on e-Health outlines conclusions regarding the key issues faced by a fundamental re-organisation of healthcare to make use of already existing information technologies.

Increase in cancers and fertility problems may be caused by household chemicals and pharmaceuticals

Chemicals which disrupt the hormone system may be contributing factor behind significant increases in cancers, diabetes, obesity and falling fertility.

Health advice for travelling football fans

Fans travelling to the UEFA EURO 2012 football championship in Poland and Ukraine can get health advice.

Reporting from across Europe


"Null Alkohol – Voll Power"

Under the slogan "Zero alcohol – Full power", the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) announced its new campaign for alcohol prevention among 12–16-year-olds.

United Kingdom

Heatwave Plan for England 2012 published

The Heatwave Plan and accompanying guidance is intended to raise public and professional awareness on how to prepare in case of severe hot weather and potential heatwaves this summer.

EU Press Releases

Commission adopts landmark list of permitted health claims on food labelling and in advertising

A list of 222 health claims has been approved by the Commission. This list is based on sound scientific advice.

Forthcoming Events

Restructuring Health Systems: How to promote health (Brussels, 6 June 2012)

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) annual conference 2012 is hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee.

Review of the EU OSH Strategy 2007-2012 and priorities for the future (Copenhagen, 28-29 June 2012)

The conference takes stock of the results of the current EU strategy on health and safety at work and establish priorities for the future.

10th European Congress of Neuropathology (Edinburgh, 6-9 June 2012)

The European Confederation of Neuropathological Societies (Euro-CNS) and the British Neuropathological Society (BNS) hosts the 10th Euro-CNS Congress.

New Publications

The results of the Qualitative Eurobarometer on patient involvement in healthcare

In-depth interviews with patients and healthcare professionals in 15 EU Member States to examine opinions, challenges and opportunities to get a clear view on what patients and doctors think about patient involvement.

World health statistics 2012 report

The newly released WHO World health statistics 2012 report  highlights the growing problem of noncommunicable diseases burden.

Noncommunicable diseases prevention and control in the South-eastern Europe Health Network – An analysis of intersectoral collaboration

The greatest burden of disease is attributable to noncommunicable diseases. This publication from WHO provides an overview of the existing tools for implementing action and highlights the developments in the fields of tobacco and nutrition in south-eastern Europe.


World No Tobacco Day – Ex-smokers are unstoppable campaign

Activities at EU level

Public Health – Tobacco

European Commission – Public Health

Health-EU – Tobacco

European Commission – DG Health and Consumers


Commissioner John Dalli presents 'Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable' campaign to media in Malta

Commissioner Dalli explains the campaign to children and journalists in a playground.

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) launches a ‘Smoke-Free Workplaces’ campaign

EU-OSHA takes part in World No Tobacco Day, launching its ‘Smoke-Free Workplaces’ awareness-raising campaign.

No tobacco at EURO 2012

The 14th Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European Football Championship (EURO 2012) will be tobacco-free.

Paola Testori Coggi, DG SANCO General Director launches a new phase of the 'Ex-smokers are unstoppable campaign'

The world’s first ‘in-flight smoking cessation card’ will be launched today on behalf of the “Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable” campaign  with TAP airlines and in partnership with the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and European Lung Foundation (ELF).

EU Health Prize for journalists – Articles

I have come here to have my teeth treated, and not to quit smoking!

By Monika Cetera, national nominee for Poland and winner of the special prize on smoking cessation 2011.

Lung cancer kills one Romanian every 16 minutes. Testimony of a young smoker killed by the disease

By Paula Herlo, Amalia Enache, national nominees for Romania 2011.

Mummy, Mickey Mouse is smoking!

By Nataša Markovič, Barbara Pance, national nominees for Slovenia 2011.

Health Programme Projects

Women in Europe against Lung Cancer and Smoking (WELAS)

The objective of the project is to contribute to the prevention and control of lung cancer among European women

Smoking in Movies

Looks at smoking in European movies and assess its association with smoking among European adolescents.

Other interesting links

Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable – campaign offers free help to stop smoking

Smokefree Partnership

European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention

PPACTE – Pricing Policies and control of Tobacco in Europe

Public health – New written health warnings for tobacco products

Health-EU. The Public Health Portal of the European Union
This newsletter is available in 22 official languages of the EU:

If you wish to cancel your subscription to this newsletter click here