28 June 2021

"Tobacco – accepted pandemic?"



Tobacco use is unlike other threats to global health. Infectious diseases do not employ multinational public relations firms. There are no front groups to promote the spread of cholera. Mosquitoes have no lobbyists[i]


It has been known for over 400 years that tobacco use is  “ A custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian[ii]smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse. [iii] and  in all these years it has scientifically proved that tobacco consumption is the leading cause of preventable death. This is already a slogan often used in the medical world, so often that sometimes it goes unnoticed. So, year after year, we have reached the situation where at present 27% of all cancers are attributed to tobacco use[iv].


There are only few countries where politicians have reached a sufficiently high level of understanding and / or acceptance of the relationship between the money from tobacco taxes that fuels national budgets (or own pockets in the case of the corrupt ones) and the health of citizens they represent by the functions they have. In many other countries, tobacco control policies are manipulated or even controlled by the tobacco industry. The wolf guarding the sheep.


The tobacco industry’s arguments as “big taxpayers” to national budgets are totally false for at least two reasons:

1 – That money does not come from industry but from citizens who consume tobacco products. If they did not consume those products, the money would no longer be “burned” or “vaped” but used for healthier, better purposes such as a healthier diet, education, culture. The taxes would of course be collected by the state in this situation as well.

2 – When declaring themselves “big taxpayers” those in the tobacco industry “forget” to mention the burden caused in health systems by the products they sell. Treating diseases caused by tobacco (cancer, cardiovascular, lung, etc.) involves very high costs for health systems.


Where is the money? When will this deadly industry really pay for the damages they caused?[v]

At the same time, globally, the tobacco control community bases its activities on totally insufficient resources compared to the scale of the disaster caused by tobacco.

Worldwide more than 7 million deaths per year are caused by tobacco consumption. If the pattern all over the globe doesn’t change, more than 8 million people a year will die from diseases related to tobacco use by 2030[vi]. For comparison, the COVID-19 pandemic caused less than 4 million deaths in more than a year (March 2020 – June 2021)[vii] and the amounts invested in combating this pandemic and its effects are astronomical.


What are we heading for? How many more people have to die from tobacco use so that politicians tip the scales in favor of public health?

ENSP has included since 2011 in the network Statutes[viii] the objective to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use in Europe to less than 5% by 2040. This objective was reiterated and strengthened in 2017 by the Athens Declaration[ix] and after 10 years, in 2021, the European Commission included in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan the same goal of creating a tobacco-free generation in Europe, where less than 5% of people use tobacco by 2040.[x]


Is this the moment of truth? Did the European Union’s decision-makers finally understand the true dimension of the tobacco pandemic?

Unfortunately, the first step taken by the EC in the new EU4Health Programme by the absence of operational grants in the EU4Health 2021 Work Programme[xi] for organizations active in the field of public health is a very disappointing one[xii].


Could this be also a result of pressure from hundreds of lobbyists paid by the tobacco industry in Brussels?

In the coming months and years, we will find the answer to all questions above…


Cornel RADU-LOGHIN / European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention


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2021 European Conference on Tobacco Control

Submit your abstract until 1 July -

no further extensions!

The ENSP European Conference on Tobacco Control is a unique chance to learn, distribute and exchange valuable information and best practices relevant for the tobacco control community, while also strengthening the global network of public health advocates. Provided that covid-related travel restrictions are lifted, we hope to host the 2021 edition in a hybrid online-onsite format between September and December 2021
The deadline for abstract submission for the 6th European Conference on Tobacco Control: ENSP-ECTC 2021 will close without further extensions on 1 July 2021, at midnight CET.
Do not miss the opportunity to submit proposals for oral, poster, and video presentations to be delivered at the 2021 Conference!
For any inquiries regarding the Conference please send an email to

ENSP's actions to support WHO FCTC Article 14 implementation in Europe named Best Practice 

The European Commission's Best Practice Portal is designed to help to find reliable and practical information on implemented practices recognized as the best in the area of health promotion, disease prevention, and the management of non-communicable diseases.
ENSP submitted its experience in development of the European Accredited Curriculum for Tobacco Cessation in 17 countries; and it was successful selected as a Best Practice example by the European Commission. As a result, the ENSP's submission will be published in the database of the Best Practice Portal and in addition presented at the Market Place of good practices in non-communicable diseases hosted by the European Commission for the Member States taking place on 30 June and 1 July 2021.
ENSP Secretariat would like to again thank all involved partners and collaborators from participating countries for their contribution to the success of the project!

New ENSP Resources

Tobacco Dependence Treatment Guidelines 2021

The ENSP Guidelines for evidence-based smoking cessation are the most recent and globally up-to-date systematic clinical guidelines for smoking cessation and were continuously published and updated from 2011 according to best-practice standards in clinical guideline development. We are happy to announce the release of the updated 2021 edition for the following languages: Spanish, Russian, Romanian, Arabic, and now Kazakh.

Kazakh version of the Tobacco Dependence Treatment Guidelines is published

The Kazakh version of the ENSP Tobacco Dependence Treatment  Guidelines (updated 2021 edition) is now available!
Through this publication, we aim to establish a wider coherence among smoking cessation practices, as well as to promote comprehensive tobacco control policies at a European (WHO European region) and at the individual national level, all with the continuous support of our members.

Upcoming events

29 June 2021: Europe's path to the Tobacco Products Directive 3.0

Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan put forward actions from 2021 to help create a ‘Tobacco-Free Generation’, where less than 5% of the population uses tobacco by 2040, compared to around 25% today. On 20 May, the long-awaited Implementation Report on the EU Tobacco Products Directive and the Support Study to the report on the application of the Directive were published.

Since the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) came into force in 2016, there have been several market, scientific and international developments in the tobacco sector and the existing rules present a number of weaknesses, gaps and loopholes.

This event will focus on lessons learnt from implementing the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) as well as concrete recommendations to improve the TPD.

6 July 2021: UICC Tobacco Control and Cancer series: #2 Building capacity for policy change

This second Virtual Dialogue in the Tobacco Control and Cancer series will address the following key questions:

  • How to strengthen and synergise capacity building efforts between cancer and tobacco control communities to drive policy change?
  • How to improve training and support sharing of best practices across countries?
  • How to better share information about existing programmes and foster opportunities to build networks?

Other news and publications

Draft report released: "Strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer"

On 25 June, the draft report by BECA Rapporteur Véronique Trillet-Lenoir "Strengthening Europe in the fight against cancer – towards a comprehensive and coordinated strategy" has been published. The report presents the Motion for a European Parliament Resolution.


Read the 1/2021 edition of the "Tabaccologia" Journal online in English!

The official journal of the Italian Society of Tobaccology "Tabaccologia | The Journal of Tobacco Science" is now available for readers online via www.tabaccologiaonline.it. The latest edition of this quarterly scientific journal for the study of tobacco, tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases includes 2 editorials and various articles, featured both in Italian and English:
  • When “freedom” kills [Vincenzo Zagà, Giacomo Mangiaracina]
  • COVID-19, a syndemic well before a pandemic disease! The role of tobacco smoking [Giovanni Di Guardo, Vincenzo Zagà]
  • The choice of Milan. Smoking and air pollution [Silvano Gallus, Paolo D’Argenio]
  • Start smoking: internal and external factors [Alessandro Vegliach, Antonietta Germanotta, Giacomo Mangiaracina]
  • The decision-making model in the treatment  of tobacco addiction: an observational study [Franco Badii, Sarah Grossi]
  • Smoking during the COVID-19 lockdown: an online survey of smokers’ behaviors and beliefs [Mattia Scipioni]

OCCRP investigates China National Tobacco Corporation's global expansion

On 22 June, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) published a series of reports "China Tobacco Goes Global" exposing China National Tobacco Corporation’s global expansion.


China National Tobacco Corporation is the world’s largest tobacco company, accounting for nearly half of global cigarette production. Unlike traditional “Big Tobacco” companies, China Tobacco’s rapid rise has gone largely unremarked in much of the world. That is now starting to change as the company expands aggressively into new countries as part of Beijing’s controversial “Belt and Road” initiative.


Journalists from OCCRP and its partners on five continents spent months investigating the massive conglomerate and its dizzying array of subsidiaries and joint ventures. They discovered China Tobacco is using many of the same strategies Big Tobacco employed in the 1990s, flooding countries with cigarettes and working with smuggling networks that move them into Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.


Read the whole series...

The latest publications in the TPC Journal:
Case H. Keltner, Tzu-Cheg Kao, Anwar Ahmed, James D. Mancuso
Dina Farran, Grace Khawam, Rima Nakkash, Juhan Lee, Nivine Abu-Rmeileh, Muhammad W. Darawad, Aya Mostafa, Khalid A. Kheirallah, Mohamed Salama, Randah R. Hamadeh, James F. Thrasher, Ramzi G. Salloum

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