May 28, 2010 - Ahead of the 2010 No Tobacco Day (Monday 31st May), the European Commission unveils the results of a Eurobarometer survey which shows that a strong majority of EU citizens support stronger tobacco control measures. For example, three in every four Europeans supports picture health warnings on tobacco packs and smoke free restaurants. The survey also shows, however, that nearly one in every three Europeans still smokes, despite the fact that tobacco kills half of its users.
(World No Tobacco Day 2010: the Commission reaffirms its commitment to fight against smoking, Europa Press Release, 5/27/2010) European Union..
The Commission is planning to launch an open consultation shortly with a view to revising the 2001 Tobacco Products Directive and is stepping up its tobacco control efforts throughout the EU. The European Commission has launched a £13.5 million (19.6 USD) anti-tobacco campaign targeting the young after a survey showed that 35% of 15 to 24-year-olds are smokers.
The UK figure is even higher at 40% - exceeded only by France and Spain (48%), Belgium (44%) and Bulgaria (42%), with 39% of the 15-24 category in Ireland admitting to smoking, according to the latest "Eurobarometer" poll, conducted last October.
EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli warned: "Tobacco kills 650,000 Europeans every year and many lives could be saved by reducing tobacco consumption. I am particularly concerned about smoking rates amongst young people - Europe cannot passively watch future generations smoke away their health."
The new campaign is timed to coincide with European "No Tobacco Day" next Monday, and involves anti-smoking messages targeting television, the internet and other sites accessible via mobile phones in a bid to "empower young people to take control of their health and lifestyles" said a Commission statement spokesman. He added: "The general motto is providing help and support for a life without tobacco by delivering comprehensive information on health and social problems related to tobacco consumption."
The figures reveal that 28% of all Britons still smoke, despite years of health warnings, compared with an EU average of 29%. In the survey, British male smokers admitted to smoking an average of nearly 16 cigarettes a day, compared with nearly 13 amongst female smokers.
Anti-smoking campaigns are backed by three-quarters of EU citizens, with 77% of Britons supporting explicit health warning pictures on cigarette packets, 67% in favour of a ban on cigarette advertising even in the shops that sell them and nearly a third of British smokers (32%) said they had tried to give up smoking at least once in the last year, but for 56% of them, the attempt failed within a week.
Unveiling the figures, Mr Dalli commented: "I am determined to do everything in my power to reduce tobacco consumption across Europe via upcoming revision of existing legislation on tobacco products and via measures that can contribute to a clear set of rules to support Europeans' health."
Current EU legislation dates from 2001, stipulating limits on the nicotine and tar content of cigarettes, written warnings on cigarette packets and a ban on the use of misleading descriptions of cigarette strengths, such as "light".
So far a dozen EU countries have introduced total bans on smoking in enclosed public places and work places, including bars and restaurants. They are Ireland, the UK, Cyprus, Italy, Malta, Sweden, Latvia, Finland, Slovenia, France, Lithuania and the Netherlands. Partial smoking bans are applied to the "hospitality" industry in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain and in most German regions.
The Commission says it is fully behind an EU plan agreed last November to achieve a "smoke-free Europe" by 2012. )European Union (EU) - “100 per cent smoke free environment”..)
Reference: EC launches £13.5m anti-smoking bid, The Press Association, 5/27/2010.