Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Smoke-free EU?

Last week the Members of the European Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee discussed a possibility to change the EU rules on labelling and advertising tobacco products as well as a possibility to ban or strictly regulate tobacco additives. Some MEPs brought up arguments that certain tobacco additives may be highly toxic, others argued for elimination of such additives that make tobacco products more attractive to young people (e.g., adding flavours, like vanilla), and therefore make it more likely that young people would start smoking tobacco. EP rapporteur Linda McAvan from the UK is preparing a report that would be voted on in July. (MEPs debate proposals to make smoking to tobacco less attractive) As a result thereof the 2001 Tobacco Products Directive is likely to change. 

This week in Dublin the Ministers are discussing the European Commission's report on the implementation of the Council Recommendation of 2009 to introduce smoke-free environments. (EU Health Ministers to tackle childhood obesity and smoke-free environments) The report points out that in 2002 among people who died in the EU due to exposure to tobacco smoke at home and at their workplace there were at least 19000 non-smokers. As a result of these data the subsequent changes in EU policy, incl the recommendation of 2009, aimed at protecting EU citizens from exposure to smoke in indoor workplaces, indoor public places, public transport and other public places. Member States were encouraged by the Recommendation to introduce smoke-free environments by November 2012 (in a non-binding way). The overview on smoke-free legislation in the Member States that has been introduced in the past few years, mainly, may be found in this table:

The overview of how exposure to smoke has changed:

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