World No Tobacco Day: The price of tobacco is linked to proportion of smokers

The cheaper the price of tobacco, the higher the percentage of people that smoke finds the latest Eurostat data.

The report looked at the price of a 20 pack of Marlboro cigarettes in every European country and cross-referenced these figures with the percentage of people who smoke in that country.

Turkey and Bulgaria, where tobacco is cheapest (under €3 per pack) to buy, are home to the highest proportion of smokers in Europe, with nearly 28% of the population smoking daily.

To read more about this, go to:

Raising awareness of the health risks associated with smoking

No Smoking Day is on 13th March this year and is a National Awareness Day to help smokers quit and to raise awareness of the health risks associated with smoking.

Research shows that smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, can cause many diseases, and overall, affects the health of smokers.  Smoking cigarettes is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK; with some illnesses causing irreversible long-term damage. According to the British Heart Foundation, smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with people who have never smoked and the NHS reports that around 70% of cases of lung cancer is caused by smoking.

To read more about this go to the Wellbeing People website.

Eye damage: can heavy smoking impair vision?

Researchers have taken a closer look into eye damage, by understanding the detrimental effects of what chronic smoking can have on spatial and colour vision.

Appearing in Psychiatry Research, the research has found that smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day can cause eye damage.

An estimated 34.3 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes and that more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease, many of which affect the cardiovascular system, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To read more about this go to:

The study included 71 healthy people who smoked fewer than 15 cigarettes in their lives and 63 who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day, were diagnosed with tobacco addiction and reported no attempts to stop smoking.

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:

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:

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