JATC Newsletter
Issue 2

The second year of the Joint Action on Tobacco Control:
A year of upgrowth

The Joint Action on Tobacco Control (JATC) was launched in October 2017 as a collaborative action between the European Commission and the EU Member States, built on evidence-based tobacco control policies. The overarching aim of this project is to support the implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) throughout the 28 EU MS at a national, regional and European level, in order to improve Public Health protection in the EU.

The second year of intense and systematic collaborations among the 30 participants of the JATC resulted in significant deliverables and valuable outcome for future EU tobacco control.

JATC 2nd Interim Meeting Brussels, 4-5 February 2020 

The 2nd JATC Interim Meeting took place on February 4-5th 2020 in Brussels, joined by the members of the Ingredients Subgroup of the Expert Group in Tobacco Control. More than 70 European partners participating in the EU funded project, Joint Action on Tobacco Control, met in person for the third time after the project kick-off in October 2017.

This was one of the key annual events of the project, during which all partners had the opportunity to discuss the JATC progress so far and give their valuable input on the reports presented by Work Package leaders. Among others, partners discussed the EU-CEG platform data and improvement options for data sharing.

Partners agreed that outcomes of the JATC will be of great importance for further tobacco control actions and for the enhancement of European and international public health, in general.

All JATC participants declared full commitment towards the success of the joint action. The final results will be presented during the closing JATC Conference in October 2020.

WPs Progress and Outcomes

EU-CEG Data Sharing Agreement signed by 19 countries

The TPD lays down rules governing the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products. The TPD stipulates that Member States shall require manufacturers and importers of tobacco products to submit information to their competent authorities via a common entry gate (EU-CEG) – an IT tool designed for ensuring the uniform application of reporting and notification obligations, harmonizing the submission of data, facilitating comparisons and reducing administrative burden.

One of the most important achievements of JATC, so far, has been the creation of a Data Sharing Agreement. In that way, the JATC provided the framework for sharing data submitted through the EU CEG, according to which “Member States shall store the information electronically and shall ensure that the Commission and other Member States have access to that information for the purposes of applying this Directive”.

This legal agreement sets out the rules and regulations for the sharing and handling of data among EU countries, both for JATC partners and non- JATC partners. The Data Sharing Agreement was completed within Work Package 5, and until February 2020, 19 EU MS and Norway signed this agreement, as a commitment to work towards creating the bigger picture of the tobacco product landscape.

E-cigarette compliance guidance document

The “E-cigarette Product Evaluation” aims to support the EU MS activities by ensuring that electronic cigarettes and refill containers are placed in the market only if they comply with the TPD.

Within Work Package 7, a digital e-cigarette compliance guidance document was developed, for both regulators and manufacturers, in order to assess if a product (either already on the market or scheduled to be launched) is compliant with the TPD.

Report on TPD mapping and sustainability activities prepared

Report on TPD mapping and sustainability activities prepared within Work Package 4, “Integration into National Policies and Sustainability”, provides insight into general barriers with the implementation of the TPD, but also provides guidelines for their potential solutions.

Reporting on E-cigarette product data

Work Package 7 is feverishly working on data analysis also to map product characteristics related to refill vials across the participating EU MS, with detailed results also expected after summer.

Preliminary analyses on Greek EU-CEG data indicated that there were over 30,000 notifications, representing predominantly notification of refill vials (>18,000) and as new product submissions (>8,000 submissions), indicating the plethora of products on the EU market.

Laboratory verification, collaboration and analyses

To map the current status quo of EU MS laboratories performing analyses on tobacco and e-cigarettes, in terms of capacity, requirements, availability of specific operating procedures or protocols and, mostly, their independence from the tobacco industry, the Work Package 8 participants developed a structured questionnaire, which was then disseminated to the relevant MS competent authorities, primarily those involved in EU-CEG monitoring and tobacco/e-cigarette product regulation.

Assessment of Priority Additives

The Work Package 9 has created an assessment/evaluation framework and guidelines for “good experimental practicing”, for EU MS and the industry respectively, and has implemented a peer review on the additives that are subject to enhanced reporting obligations.

Interim evaluation of the project findings

The Work Package 3 team regularly monitors the implementation of the JATC activities, in qualitative terms, in order to assure that all WPs adhere to the prompt submission of their deliverables and all tasks are performed as intended.

Findings from Interim evaluation report show that the efforts within the project were perceived to be highly suitable and that vast majority of interviewed partners agreed upon the importance of the JATC to improve communication among Member States to implement the TPD. While most parts of the collaborations were found to function very well, focus should be set on the exchange between enforcement agencies and the systematization and management of the achieved solutions.

Among others, results show that the scope of the project is in line with the needs of the target group; that most of the expected outcomes of the project are covered by the work packages and confirm the importance of each work package was reassured.

Other News

Participation of WP8 in the WHO Expert Meeting

Εxperts from the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy, leader of the JATC WP8 participated with a JATC presentation in the WHO Expert Meeting on taxation of Electronic Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS) meeting, held on September 2-4th 2018 at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva. More than 40 participants, mainly international decision and policymakers, were present at this meeting.

Welcome to the new WP 4 leader

During the second Interim meeting, JATC partners were informed that the National Institute of Health, Italy, undertook leadership of WP4. The main aim of the Work Package 4 is to enhance effective and efficient integration into national policies and training opportunities and ensure the longer-term sustainability of the JATC outcomes.

JATC Presentation to External Stakeholders

JATC participation in the EU Health Programme High Level Conference in Brussels

The importance of the JATC and key deliverables were presented at the EU Health Programme high-level conference, held on September 30th 2019. The event was hosted by Mr. Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, and was organized by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA), with the support of the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DGSANTE). The target audience were beneficiaries of health programmes, policymakers, researchers, health professionals, representatives of intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations.

The Joint Action Tobacco Control team participated in the conference with an oral presentation and stand exhibition. A poster prepared on behalf of the JATC consortium was also presented on this occasion. This was an excellent opportunity for sharing information about JATC importance and project outcomes among various target audience such as policymakers, representatives of governmental and civil society organizations, as well as among experts and researchers.

Information about JATC, including a brief interview from Prof. Panagiotis Behrakis, the project coordinator, was included in the brochure about EU funded success stories.

JATC participation at the European Conference
on Tobacco or Health

Information on JATC were disseminated to participants of the European Conference on Tobacco or Health - ECTOH, held in Berlin, Germany, during February 19-22 2020. 

Representatives of the JATC consortium provided all additional information to interested representatives of tobacco control and public health community present at this conference

Find more details about the JATC project on our website

www.jaotc.eu, and/or contact us at jatc@researchlab.gr

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