The youngest smoke more 

An increasing number of children under 15 years old have started to smoke during the last 40 years in Europe.

Researchers have looked at 120,000 people from 17 European countries and one of the questions asked was when they started smoking between 1970 and 2009.

The data showed that all age groups have experienced a decline in the numbers starting smoking in this time span, except for the age group 11 – 15 years old, especially during the last 10 years.

The results showed that smoking increased most amongst young women in Western Europe, where around 40 per 1000 start smoking every year, compared to 20 in 1970. For young men in Northern Europe, the numbers have remained relatively constant.

To read more about smoking amongst children, go to: The youngest smoke more | Faculty of Medicine | University of Bergen

EU Health Award for NGOs 

The 2018 EU Health Award for NGOs Working to Prevent Tobacco Use has now closed. The first prize of €20,000 was awarded to the Irish Cancer Society for the innovative social dimension of their campaign, the peer-to-peer approach, tackling also vulnerable groups in their “X-HALE Youth Smoking Prevention Programme”. The second prize of €15,000 was awarded to “Education Against Tobacco” from Germany for a well-structured and well-studied initiative in the form of a multinational network driven by over 3,500 volunteering medical students and physicians from 82 medical schools located in 14 countries worldwide. The third prize of €10,000 was awarded to the “Youth Network No Excuse” from Slovenia for their strong policy and advocacy component and young leadership which included an educational training programme for their activists to become active citizens, by raising awareness in primary and secondary schools, engaging in research activities, and advocating for stronger tobacco-control legislation. 

To read more about the award go to : EU Health Award for NGOs 2018 – European Commission

EU Health Award for NGOs

The European Commission selected 11 initiatives as candidates for the 2018 EU Health Award for NGOs, which aims to reward Non-Governmental Organisations that have contributed to a higher level of public health in the EU by working on preventing tobacco use.

The selected candidates, in alphabetical order by NGO, are:

  1. Unfairtobacco by Berlin Working Group Environment and Development “BLUE 21”
  2. Teens understanding and taking control health (TUTCH) by The Choice foundation
  3. Education Against Tobacco by Education Against Tobacco / Aufklärung gegen Tabak e.V.
  4. The Breath race “la route du Rhum 2018 by L’Espace du Souffle
  5. SmokeFreeGreece by the Hellenic Cancer Society
  6. Approaches to enhance smoking cessation in Hungary through guideline formulation and targeted training for healthcare professionals by the Hungarian Respiratory Society
  7. VIVID – Institute for the Prevention of Addiction by VIVID – Institute for the Prevention of Addiction.
  8. Be Smart – Don’t Start by Institut für Therapie- und Gesundheitsforschung
  9. X-HALE Youth Smoking Prevention Programme by the Irish Cancer Society
  10. Reducing the Consumption of Tobacco, Related Products and Alcohol among the Inhabitants of the Republic of Slovenia by the Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control (SCTC)
  11. Youth Organisation No Excuse Slovenia by Youth Network No Excuse Slovenia

For more information about their activities, go to: EU Health Award for NGOs

Why tobacco taxation matters for health equity

Tobacco consumption is the most significant cause of premature death in the EU and one that disproportionally affects the poorest and most disadvantaged citizens. Not only are rates of tobacco consumption higher amongst the lowest socio-economic groups, they suffer more from its effects.

The use of novel tobacco products also looks set to grow. National initiatives to research and regulate e-cigarettes and packaging are encouraging, but while the long – term effects of e-cigarette use remain unknown, caution should prevail. Clinician-led use of novel products can have a place in tobacco cessation services,  along with increased health literacy and health education as part of wider health promotion approach. However, unregulated and fully open markets can perpetuate the sale of harmful products, exploiting the vulnerability and inequalities experienced by certain groups.

To read the full article on the EuroHealthnet website: Why tobacco taxation matters for health equity 

Smoking and drinking damage teenagers’ arteries by age of 17

The arteries of teenagers who drink alcohol and smoke, even very occasionally, begin to stiffen by the age of 17, according to a new study. Such stiffening has been linked to heart and blood vessel problems later in life, such as heart attacks and strokes.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal on Wednesday, was based on data collected from more than 1,000 British adolescents, who provided details of their smoking and drinking habits at ages 13, 15 and 17.

“We found that in this large contemporary British cohort, drinking and smoking in adolescence, even at lower levels compared to those reported in adult studies, is associated with arterial stiffening and atherosclerosis progression,” the study’s senior author, Professor John Deanfield of University College London’s Institute of Cardiovascular Science, said in a statement.

To read more about this study to go: http://www.euronews.com/2018/08/29/smoking-and-drinking-damage-teenagers-arteries-by-age-of-17-study

EU/US collaboration on medicines and tobacco

Senior officials from the European Commission (EC), together with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held their 2018 bilateral meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on 18 and 19 June. The two-day bilateral regulatory dialogue allowed the strategic partners to review their ongoing cooperative initiatives, discuss strategic priorities for the coming years and further strengthen the continuous close collaboration with specific action in the field of pharmaceuticals.

To read more about the outcomes of this meeting go to:

http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/sante/newsletter-specific-archive-issue.cfm?archtype=specific&newsletter_service_id=327&newsletter_issue_id=9457&page=1&fullDate=Fri%2022%20Jun%202018&lang=default

Systems for tobacco traceability and security features 

Articles 15 and 16 of the Tobacco Products Directive provide for EU-wide systems of traceability and security features for tobacco products to address the issue of illicit trade.

The traceability system aims to:

  • Contribute to reducing the circulation of non-compliant tobacco products
  • Reduce artificially cheap supplies of illegal tobacco products
  • Protect public health, State budgets, and legal economic operators.

To read more about the traceability system go to: Systems for tobacco traceability and security features – European Commission

Taxes on tobacco and sugary drinks can save lives

A new WHO study on Montenegro has revealed that increased taxes applied to tobacco products and sugary drinks would have a significant positive impact in terms of avoiding premature mortality and new cases of disease over the next 20 years. If introduced as recommended by WHO, the taxes would also raise revenue and result in major monetary savings for the government in the form of reduced costs of treatment and workplace absenteeism. The results indicate that increased taxation applied to these products would be a powerful tool for Montenegro in achieving national and global targets related to reductions in overweight and obesity and tobacco smoking prevalence.

To read more about this study on Montenegro go to: WHO/Europe | Montenegro study: taxes on tobacco and sugary drinks can save lives

Rules for Tobacco tracking

Measures that EU countries and economic operators need to enact to put in place the EU-wide tracking and tracing system planned for under the Tobacco Products Directive  (articles 15 and 16) have been clarified in secondary legislation adopted by the Commission today. Welcoming the adoption of the legal acts, Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis reminded that “Illicit tobacco trade increases access, including by children and young adults, to cigarettes and other tobacco products, which remain the biggest avoidable cause of premature death in the EU. This fraudulent practice is also responsible for millions of euros in tax revenue losses for EU countries every year.”

 

To read more on the European Commission website go to: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/sante/newsletter-specific-archive-issue.cfm?newsletter_service_id=327&newsletter_issue_id=6483&page=1&fullDate=Fri%2015%20Dec%202017&lang=default

Turkey and e-cigarettes

In a public statement made at the Turkish Grand National Assembly Commission on Planning and Budget, Minister of Finance Naci Ağbal stated that plans to allow the importation and production of heat-not-burn tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems  in Turkey were withdrawn. He confirmed that these products would not be sold or produced in the country.

The announcement followed a press conference and strong public reaction to the threats posed by the tobacco industry’s proposals to begin importing and producing heat-not-burn and ENDS products in the country. The press conference, held in Ankara, Turkey, saw WHO and prominent academics and health specialists jointly voicing their condemnation of the tobacco industry’s proposed new strategy.

To read more about this announcement and the reasons behind it on the WHO Europe website to go:  http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/tobacco/news/news/2017/10/turkey-withdraws-plans-to-loosen-tobacco-control-laws