20 June 2019
WHO World No Tobacco Day 2019
Every year, on 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and global partners celebrate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). The annual campaign is an opportunity to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form. 


The focus of World No Tobacco Day 2019 was on "tobacco and lung health." 

 The campaign increases awareness on:

  • the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease, 
  • the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people. 

The campaign also serves as a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and engaging stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for tobacco control.

Read more on the WHO website...

WNTD Event and WNTD Award Ceremony: 11 June 2019, Brussels, Belgium

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) 2019 event at the Press Club in Brussels celebrated the achievements of the European WNTD award laureates and called for renewed commitment to tobacco control in Europe.

 

The high level event and award ceremony in Brussels recalled the threat of the tobacco epidemic to the health of future generations and called for a renewed political commitment to eliminate tobacco use. It was jointly organised by WHO Regional Office for Europe together with three leading tobacco control organisations -- the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP), the European Respiratory Society (ERS), and Smoke Free Partnership (SFP), and supported by the European Cancer Leagues (ECL), the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA). Speakers included Mr. Arūnas Vinčiūnas ( Head of Cabinet of European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis), Leen Meulenbergs ( Director, Strategic Partnerships, WHO/Europe, and WHO Representative to the European Union), Kristina Mauer-Stender (Program Manager, Tobacco Control Program, WHO Regional Office for Europe), and an expert intervention by Dr. Filippos Filippidis ( School of Public Health, Imperial College London, ERS Standing Committee on Tobacco Control). 

 ‘ We know that 90% of lung cancers could be avoided by eliminating tobacco use. There is a huge potential to improve health by implementing policies that we know are effective, such as increasing taxation, using plain packaging, banning advertising and eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke. Without countries taking action, we will miss the opportunity to use tobacco control as a major lever for improving public health. The latest tobacco trends report from WHO reveals some key opportunities for action, for example addressing tobacco control in countries where women have not yet started to smoke.’

Kristina Mauer-Stender, Program Manager, Tobacco Control Program,
WHO Regional Office for Europe

The event looked at past achievements as well as future action needed. Participants at the meeting called for stronger policy action on tobacco in order to prevent lung diseases and improve overall public health. Policies include strong smoke free policies, the implementation of plain packaging and advertising restrictions at national level. Furthermore, the session’s participants called on the new political mandate of the European Parliament and Commission to include a strong, long-term commitment to tobacco control and the implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in order to eradicate tobacco production and consumption.

During the award ceremony, the achievements of six organisations and individuals based in the European region, were recognised with the 2019 WHO World No Tobacco Day Award:

  • Professor Dr Galina Sakharova, Chief Researcher, Central Research Institute for Organization and Informatization of Health Care, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Russian Federation
  • Dutch Alliance for a Smoke-Free Society, Kingdom of Netherlands
  • No Excuse Slovenia – Youth Network, Republic of Slovenia
  • Shira Kislev, Chief Executive Officer, Smoke-Free Israel – the national initiative to eradicate smoking, State of Israel
  • Smoke-Free Life Coalition, Republic of Bulgaria
  • Professor Emeritus of Public Health Science Hans Gilljam, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Kingdom of Sweden

Ms Kristina Mauer-Stender, WHO Regional Office for Europe, conducting the Award Ceremony

  Urška Erklavec and Jan Peloza, No Excuse Slovenia (left) and Gergana Geshanova and Masha Gavrailova, Smoke-Free Life Coalition (right) receiving the WNTD Award from WHO representatives  Kristina Mauer-Stender and Leen Meulenbergs

4th ENSP-SRP International Conference on Tobacco Control

The  4th ENSP – SRP International Conference on Tobacco Control 2019 was held from 27 to 29 of March 2019 in Bucharest, Romania.  This year’s main theme was “Tomorrow’s sustainable development starts now – time to accelerate tobacco control!”. The message was strongly supported by  H.E. Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis who opened the Conference along with the Head of Secretariat of the WHO FCTC Vera Luiza de Costa e Silva.

The Conference activities were completed successfully. A great number of speakers, delegates and volunteers contributed to the success of the event. The Conference hosted almost 400 European and International attendees from 50 countries while the program included in total 44 sessions. 150 abstracts were accepted as oral and poster presentations and were published as a special issue in the official ENSP Journal – Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.

Left: Conference Opening Ceremony; Right: interview of Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at the Conference press corner
ENSP SG Cornel Radu-Loghin welcoming H.E. Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis to the Conference

During the closing ceremony of the Conference, Paris, France was announced as the next city to host the 5th ENSP Conference on Tobacco Control (ECTC) in June 2020.

Global Forum on Human Rights and a Tobacco-Free World: 26 March 2019, Bucharest, Romania

This unique and historic event brought together global leaders in human rights and public health to discuss ways to advance worldwide efforts to combat the tobacco epidemic.

“Banning smoking in closed public spaces was a mature and responsible decision that propelled Romania among countries concerned with protecting citizens from the risks of smoking. Romania has even become a good practice model for the Republic of Moldova. I am convinced that we can have more examples of this kind in Romania, that we can replicate the approach in other areas too,” emphasised the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, in his speech.

“It is now imperative to relocate tobacco control to the front of the narrative on human rights to protect our children.”, said Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). She added that: “Too often it’s smokers vs. non-smokers, not everyone vs. the industry. The public is often doing the work of the industry, but the human rights argument helps with that. Where is the tobacco industry when you are sick? It’s criminal what is happening.”

Dr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Union Commissioner for Health and Food Safety also added that “The FCTC is grounded in the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health.” He strongly believes that “It’s easy to sign an agreement, but we need implementation on the ground. The UN SDGs require a realcombination of different modalities.”

Following the  Global Forum on Human Rights and a Tobacco-Free World (26 March), the Bucharest Declaration was adopted during the ENSP-SRP International Conference. ENSP members supported the efforts undertaken by a commited group of international organisations, civil society, and scholars to translate the vision of a Tobacco-Free World into practice, recognize the value of combining efforts of the human rights and tobacco control communities to put an end to the tobacco epidemic.


Read the Declaration...

Find out more about the Forum...

The human rights dimension of tobacco control: a tool to advance the WHO FCTC implementation


“A better understanding of how tobacco control and human rights interact means a better understanding of our abilities to strengthen the WHO FCTC implementation.” 

Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC
The objective of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is non-equivocal: to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke. As relevant now as when the WHO FCTC was adopted, this objective finds translation in the language of human rights. Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva was present at the Global Forum on Human Rights and a Tobacco Free world and shared her beliefs regarding the connections between the topics of tobacco use, world health and human rights.

Read more...
EURACTIV Report Tobacco Control: What's next?

During the ENSP-SRP Conference and the Global Forum in Romania EURACTIV prepared a Special Report on Tobacco Control, consisting of 5 key articles:

  • Public health activists say eradicating tobacco must be a human right
  • EU health chief: Next Commission will strengthen tobacco rules
  • Individual action against smoking is not enough, Romanian president says
  • WHO official: With e-cigarettes, the tobacco industry just ‘changed clothes’
  • Smoking is slavery and against human rights, activists say

  Read the Special Report...

ENSP receives an Award in Spain: "Semana sin humo 2019"

The  SEMFYC (Sociedad Española de Medicina Familiar y Comunitaria), the most important association of General Practitioners in Spain, has selected ENSP for their annual award "Semana sin humo", which was presented during their Annual Congress in Málaga, with over 8.000 physicians attending the event. The award celebrates individuals or entities working in Tobacco Control with excellent outcomes.

ENSP is truly honoured to receive the award and we would like to thank SEMFYC for this recognition and our president Francisco Rodriguez Lozano for his commitment to fight tobacco in Spain and Europe.

Read more [ES] ...

Dr Lozano accepting "Semana sin humo" award on behalf of ENSP

Plain Packaging Update

Slovenia: How were 38 MPs subordinated to tobacco multinationals?

Today, a cover story of Mladina Magazin (by Damjan Ilic) shed light upon the ongoing fight for plain packaging in Slovenia.  

Big Tobacco and its servants in the Slovenian parliament (38 signatories amongst 90 MPs) are trying to postpone plain packaging measure for 3 years (from Jan 1, 2020 until Jan 1, 2023). Tobacco Control NGOs and activists are currently fighting back this attempts trying to keep the original date in the law.

Read more [SL]...

Canada joins Growing Global Movement to require Plain Packaging for Tobacco Products

On the 1st of May, Canada has given a major boost to the growing, global movement to require that tobacco products be sold in plain packaging by issuing final regulations to implement plain packaging starting in November. Altogether, 14 countries have now implemented or adopted plain packaging, and such measures are under consideration in more than a dozen other countries.

 

Countries are adopting plain packaging as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce tobacco use, which kills more than 7 million people worldwide each year. Plain packaging requires tobacco products to be sold in drab packaging, free of the colourful logos and other branding that attract kids and mislead consumers about the health risks of tobacco use. Australia implemented the world's first plain packaging law in 2012. It has subsequently been upheld against tobacco industry challenges in both Australian and international courts and helped significantly reduce smoking in Australia.

Belgium moves forward with a new law
In Belgium, the plain packaging will come into force from January 1, 2020, announced the Minister of Public Health Maggie De Block in an official statement. The Royal Recree has been published in the Belgian Monitor.

Read more about the decision [FR]...
International overview on plain packaging

Based on the report published by the Canadian Cancer Society, there are 29 countries and territories moving forward with plain packaging, with 14 having adopted the measure and 15 working on it. Plain packaging has been implemented in Australia (2012), France (2016), the United Kingdom (2016), Norway (2017), Ireland (2017), New Zealand (2018) and Hungary (2018), will be implemented in Saudi Arabia (2019), Turkey (2019), Thailand (2019), Canada (2019), Uruguay (2019), Slovenia (2020) and Israel (2020), and is under formal consideration in Singapore, Belgium, Netherlands, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Malaysia, Romania, Chile, Georgia, Jersey, Guernsey, Taiwan, Finland, and South Africa.

FDA approves sale of PMI's IQOS
On April 30, 2019 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had authorized Philip Morris International (PMI) to market its IQOS heated cigarettes in the United States, with marketing restrictions that the FDA said are intended to prevent youth access and exposure. The FDA did not reach a decision on PMI's request to be allowed to claim that IQOS is a less harmful product.

The FDA's authorization to market IQOS in the United States came with certain restrictions, and it can be revisited.

Although the FDA is one of the world's most influential regulatory agencies, the impact of this and other tobacco-related decisions on other countries should be limited because its actions are driven by specific US laws that are not similar to, or comparable to, the laws of most other countries. The decision on IQOS was based on a law that was enacted before IQOS existed and in terms of that law, IQOS is categorized as a cigarette. 

 

Governments in most other countries will have greater flexibility in determining how to regulate IQOS: whether to permit it to be sold and under what circumstances, or to not permit IQOS sale based on a country's own laws and context.

 

Governments considering how to regulate IQOS should not default to following the decision of the US FDA. Each country should make its own determination based on its own laws and circumstances.

  • PMI has been trying to get countries to adopt the weakest possible regulation for IQOS.  Countries should resist pressure and inputs from PMI and be suspicious of the company's motives. Philip Morris has enjoyed huge profits from selling tobacco products and will also profit from the sales of IQOS. PMI has caused the very epidemic of tobacco use that it now claims to be concerned with mitigating.
  • IQOS falls within the definition of a 'tobacco product' under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and is subject to the Treaty's policies and guidelines on the sales and marketing of tobacco products. Policies on sales to minors and others are based on a strong body of evidence and have been proven to work in countries around the world. These measures do apply not only to the heated tobacco products but also apply to the devices designed for using such products.
  • The evidence regarding the risks and benefits of IQOS heated cigarettes is incomplete and the research is often paid for by PMI, making it highly suspect.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and their public health partners have raised concerns with the FDA that PMI has marketed IQOS around the world in ways that clearly appeal to young people, including through social media, sponsorships of events like beach parties and fashion shows, and slick stores and kiosks that look as if they're selling tech gadgets, not addictive tobacco products.

Governments should act deliberately and carefully to ensure that that IQOS can only be marketed to adult smokers and that young people do not take up use of the product.

Moreover, Michél Legendre, the Corporate Accountability, adds: "The FDA's announcement today is a blow to public health in the U.S. and means that millions of Americans and young people will be exposed to PMI's latest harmful and addictive tobacco product. But, it's not the decision PMI was looking for. The FDA did not issue a ruling on PMI's claims of "reduced risk", meaning that for now, iQOS will be treated for what it is: another cigarette product from a cigarette company."

Read more...

Furthermore, the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance published a statement claiming that FDA's decision inadvertently puts a foot in the door to increase sales of new tobacco products in the developing world.
FDA clarified that it has not approved IQOS as a ‘modified risk tobacco product’ (MRTP). But PMI is riding on this ‘US-FDA approved for sale’ of its IQOS as also safer alternative to regular cigarettes to Asian governments.  

In Indonesia, PMI’s local subsidiary PT HM Sampoerna signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (Kemenristek Dikti) to support IQOS research and capacity building.

Also, while Malaysia’s Control of Tobacco Products Regulation requires pictorial warning on all tobacco products, IQOS is being sold as safer alternatives to regular cigarettes without these warnings.

In the Philippines, PMI claims on one-hand that cigarettes are harmful, smokers should quit and children should not buy them, however in the same breath it continues to refute evidence about smoking.


Read more...
ECPC Manifesto

Every year, more than 3 million people are diagnosed with cancer. An estimated 3.9 million people were faced with a diagnosis of cancer and 1.9 million have died from cancer in the European Union in 2018.

The right to health is a human right recognised in the international human rights treaties ratified by the Member States. For this right to be guaranteed, access to medicines, treatment and high-quality care must be ensured equally to all cancer patients in the EU.

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have the power and responsibility to adopt measures setting high standards for accessibility, quality and safety of medicinal products, treatments and cancer care.

The European Cancer Patient Coalition, together with their members representing 448 cancer patient organisations in all Member States call on the newly-elected Members of the  European Parliament to join their mission to overcome inequalities in Europe, where all cancer patients have timely and affordable access to the best treatment and care available, throughout their life.

Read the full ECPC Manifesto...
New published articles
Tobacco craving and withdrawal symptoms in psychiatric patients during a motivational enhancement intervention based on a 26-hour smoking abstinence period
Ineke Keizer, Marianne Gex-Fabry, Patrice Croquette, Jean-Paul Humair, Aqal Nawaz Khan

Higher quality quit-date goal setting enhances quit attempts among quitline callers
Benjamin R. Brady, Uma S. Nair, Joe K. Gerald, Nicole P. Yuan, Laurie A. Krupski, Cynthia A. Thomson

Bucharest Declaration on human rights and a tobacco-free Europe
Action on Smoking and Health, European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention, Asociatia Generatia Romania Sanatoasa

Willingness-to-try various tobacco cessation methods among US adult cigarette smokers
Chineme Enyioha, Clare Meernik, Leah Ranney, Adam O. Goldstein, Kathryn Sellman, Christine E. Kistler

One-item susceptibility measure predicts waterpipe and little cigar/cigarillo uptake in a national sample of adolescents and young adults in the United States
Elizabeth N. Orlan, Tara L. Queen, Kurt M. Ribisl, Erin L. Sutfin

An intervention based on the Electronic Medical Record to improve smoking cessation guidance in an urban tertiary care center emergency department
Michael P. Phelan, Balaji Nithianandam, Nathan Eikoff, Daniel Good, Fredric M. Hustey, Stephen Meldon

Building capacity to implement tobacco-free policies in college and university settings with underserved populations
Jessica Μ. Rath, Lindsay Pitzer, Brittany Carnegie, Muftau Shinaba, Donna Vallone, Ines Parks, Kristen Tertzakian, Denise Smith, Cianti Stewart-Reid, Elizabeth C. Hair

Smoking zones versus smoke-free zones on Canadian post-secondary campuses: Which zone is more effective, adhered to and preferred? 
Matthew J. FaganTaniya S. NagpalLyndsay FitzgeorgeWilliam Justin SmithJosh RosaasenHarry Prapavessis
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