© European Union , 2016
July 2016
The European Commission decides not to renew agreement with PMI
© European Union , 2016
On 5th July 2016, the European Commission decided that it would not renew the agreement between the EU and Philip Morris International on smuggling and counterfeit of tobacco products, which expired on 9th July. ENSP and ERS (European Respiratory Society) congratulate and thank everyone who have been involved in making this decision possible.

In the last few months, ENSP and ERS (European Respiratory Society) have been in correspondence with the Commission Vice-President Georgieva (pictured) to argue the case that the agreement was not only ineffective and obsolete but obviously violates FCTC Article 5.3.
Despite the good news, ENSP and ERS are by no means resting on their laurels and would like to use this clear sign of support from the EU Commission to encourage and urge all EU Member States to sign and/or ratify the WHO FCTC Protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products.

On Monday 18th July, Mrs Georgieva explained to the EU Observer
that " it was the right decision in 2004 to sign the agreement, and it was the right decision in 2016 to let it expire." Read the full article.

Read more on the ENSP/ERS position on the Commission decision.
Read also the statements of French MEP Gilles Pargneaux (S&D) and Austrian MEP Karin Kadenbach (S&D) on the EU Commission decision.

Photo© European Union , 2016
Illicit Trade: the EU calls on countries around the world to sign the WHO Protocol

The EU has been in the lead in negotiating the Protocol under the auspices of the WHO. Following a Commission proposal, the EU ratified the FCTC Protocol on 24th June 2016. The Protocol requires 40 ratifications to enter into force. To date there have been 18 ratifications. Therefore, the EU calls on other countries to follow suit and sign the World Health Organisation Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products ('FCTC Protocol'), which according to Slovakian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák " represents the first international instrument dedicated to addressing this challenge." Read full article.

On 18th July 2016 at a high level event in Brussels, European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva celebrated with Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, Slovakian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák and WHO FCTC Head of Convention Secretariat Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva the official EU ratification of the FCTC protocol.

The Slovak Council presidency prepares COP7 position
The Slovak presidency of the Council of the EU, lasting from 1 July to 31 December 2016, aims to underline the importance of prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases by promoting healthy lifestyles. The presidency will further prepare a joint EU position on the negotiation topics of the 7th Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to be held in India in November 2016. A few days into its six-month mandate, the Slovak Minister of Health announced the organisation of a high-level meeting with Vice-President Georgieva to formally confirm the WHO Protocol ratification and its implications on 18th July. Read the full presidency programme.
EQUIPT FInal project conference, 27 September 2016 in Brussels
© European Union , 2016

The EQUIPT project team is pleased to invite you to the final project conference in Brussels on Tuesday 27 September, 2016. Save the date now in your diary, as places are limited.

EQUIPT is a comparative effectiveness research project in tobacco control, that brings together expertise from multiple disciplines and aims to provide policy makers and wider stakeholders with bespoke information about the economic and wider returns that investing in evidence-based tobacco control including smoking cessation agendas can generate.

The final project conference will present all EQUIPT project results and offer a demonstration of the Return On Investment (ROI) tool by project partners. We are expecting around 100 participants to the conference, including stakeholders, policy makers and project contributors.

Read more about EQUIPT on www.equipt.eu

Register to the conference by contacting andrea.glahn@ensp.org

EUREST-PLUS showcased at H2020 info day

On July 8th 2016, the European Commission organised in Brussels an Info Day on Horizon 2020 - 'Health, demographic change and wellbeing'. The Societal Challenge 1 (SC1) Info Day targeted potential applicants to the calls for project proposals under the H2020 challenge 'Health, demographic change and wellbeing' 2017 Work Programme.

Dr Constantine Vardavas, EUREST-PLUS Coordinator was invited by DG Research to present in front of an audience of over 650 people from all over Europe. He showcased EUREST-PLUS as an a good-practice example and highlighted how the application was written and put together, the practical steps to move ahead within six months, and also emphasised on the key reasons that made it a successful project.

The video of the whole conference is available here. Dr Constantine Vardavas' presentation starts at 07:25:02 (time: 16:41:40) and his powerpoint presentation is available here in pdf format.

For further information on the Info Day, click on the following items:
European Commission calls for independent advisory panel on characterising flavours in tobacco products

The European Commission is looking for experts in sensory analysis, chemical analysis and statistics to join a newly established independent advisory panel assisting Member States and the Commission in determining whether tobacco products have a characterising flavour.

Members of the panel will be appointed by the Commission on the basis of their expertise in one or several areas, as described in Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/786 and in the official text for this call for applications.

Members will be appointed for a renewable term of five years.

A call for application to the independent advisory panel is now open (Deadline for submitting your application: 12:00 CET on 22 September 2016).

To apply, please visit the European Commission page.

Further information on the project can be found here.

Key points from the High Court of Justice decision on UK standardised packaging

Following the decision by the High Court of Justice of England and Wales on 19 May 2016 to dismiss the legal challenges to the United Kingdom’s tobacco standardized packaging laws, the McCabe Center for Law and Cancer has produced an overview of key points of the decision. This may be of relevance for decision makers, Tobacco Control advocates and experts, when dealing with litigation cases and policy development in other national jurisdictions. The paper highlight concepts or arguments that are likely to feature in similar legal challenges on plain or standardised packaging.
Tobacco Industry campaigns against Plain Packaging in Sweden
On the first week of July 2016, more than 30.000 decision makers, including members of parliament and government ministers, and opinion leaders met in the Swedish city of Visby to discuss different issues including politics and health.

Meanwhile, Imperial Tobacco decided to organise a PR stunt and set up a "special supermarket" for the whole of that time, called The Future Supermarket, where all products such as coffee, drinks and bread were presented in plain packaging (see pictures). Their aim was to counteract a proposal on tobacco plain packs, which is currently being discussed in Sweden as part of the government’s Tobacco Endgame policy. The initiative's objective is to phase out smoking in Sweden and reduce the national prevalence to less than 5% of the population by 2025.

Margaretha Haglund, Tobacco Expert from the Swedish think-tank Tobaksfakta says: "The supermarket clearly shows that big tobacco fears plain packs in Sweden. The concept with the store is an updated version of activities carried out earlier in Australia, UK and France with a cultural adaption to fit in Sweden".
© European Union , 2016
© European Union , 2016
© European Union , 2016
Luxembourg signs agreement with Philip Morris Luxembourg to counter illicit trade

Despite the EU Commission's decision not to renew its contract with PMI, the government of Luxembourg represented by the Customs and Duty administration, went ahead and signed on 30 June 2016, an agreement with Philip Morris Luxembourg (PML), which aimed at countering illicit trade of cigarettes. With the agreement the Customs and Duty administration would have access to the database and tracing system of PML, while the luxembourgish authorities agree to inform PML of control operations and seizures in the country. The agreement is the fourth in the series of collaboration deals signed by Luxembourg's Customs and Excise Administration in the fight against illicit trade and smuggling. Read the Luxembourg government press release.
Tobacco companies sell Codentify to third party

To comply with regulations in the EU Tobacco Products Directive, tobacco companies have sold their track-and-trace system, Codentify, to a third party. The Codentify system is made to combat smuggling of cigarettes by enabling firms and customs to identify the origin of tobacco products. The system has been set up following the agreements between the EU and major tobacco companies.

The EU Tobacco Products Directive and the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control state that the system should be independently owned. Critics say that the third parties owning the track-and-trace system are however not independent from the tobacco companies. Read more..
Historic ruling upholds Uruguay law to reduce tobacco

On 8 July, Uruguay won an international legal battle against Philip Morris International to uphold its strong laws to reduce tobacco use. The decision was made by an arbitration tribunal of the World Bank, rejecting the claims made six years ago by PMI against two tobacco control laws adopted by Uruguay.

Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids notes: " This ruling is of global significance because it affirms the sovereign right not only of Uruguay, but of all countries, to protect the health of their citizens by adopting effective measures to reduce tobacco use. It is also a powerful rebuke of Philip Morris, which has abused international trade and investment agreements to challenge strong tobacco control laws in Uruguay and other countries in recent years."

The ruling enters into a series of victories against tobacco companies such as the rejection of PMI challenges against Australia's law on plain packaging in 2015 as well as the UK High Court uphold of the national plain packaging law and the European Union's Court of Justice's rejection of challenges against the Tobacco Products Directive.
© European Union , 2016
New Published Articles

Knowledge and attitudes of health professional students on smoking cessation techniques in Turkey
Ahmet Ergin, Süleyman Utku Uzun, Ali İhsan Bozkurt

Tobacco treatment TrAining Network in Crete (TiTAN-Crete): protocol for a controlled before-after study
Charis Girvalaki, Sophia Papadakis, Constantine Vardavas, Andrew Pipe, Christos Lionis

© European Union , 2016
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