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September 2017
Save the Date
ENSP-CNPT International Conference on Tobacco Control
14-16 June 2018 - Madrid (Spain)
21 Ocober 2017 Belgium:
French Launch of the TOB.g Tobacco Cessation Guidelines for High-Risk Populations
TOB.g Tobacco Cesation Guidelines in French will be launched and disseminated at an event organised by FARES (The Fund of Respirotary Diseases) with several partners including ENSP, on 21 October 2017 at Hôpital Civil Marie Curie, Lodelinsart, Belgium.

Over a hundred of healthcare and medical professionals from France and French-speaking Belgium will gather in Charleroi to discuss tobacco dependancy among high-risk groups of population including pregnant women, children, patients with diabetes, and debate on ways to apply the findings of TOB.g research in their practice.

The full program of the day is now available.

Register for the event here.
The Tobacco Cessation Guidelines for High Risk Populations is the main result of the TOB-G partnership, coordinated by the Hellenic Center for Disease Control & Prevention and partners ENSP, CMT Prooptiki, Anlet Med. and TFRI Ireland. During the autumn of 2017 the TOB-G e-learning platform and training course will also be launched.

The guidelines were released and disseminated to particpants at the 2nd ENSP International Conference on Tobacco Control, held in Athens, Greece in May 2017 and are currently available for download in English (in French as from 21 October).

Read more about the TOB-G project here.
ENSP urges Italian Red Cross to stop accepting donations from the tobacco industry

The European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) has been informed by the Tobacco Endgame group in Italy about a widely publicised donation of 500.000€ made by Philip Morris International (PMI) to the Italian Red Cross. This financial donation to the Red Cross to support the populations hit by the recent earthquake was publically used by PMI to promote their deceptive “strong sense of social responsibility” and draw the attention away from the terrible effect of their products on society.

Acceptance by reputable organisations, such as the Red Cross, of sponsorship or donations from the tobacco industry effectively helps promote tobacco products (that kill 6 million people each year, 100.000 of which are Italians), and is used to resist regulations that are standard for other deadly or addictive products such as weapons, drugs or highly toxic products.

While congratulating the Italian Red Cross for the excellent work done and support provided to the populations damaged by the earthquake and the IFRC for the perfectly aligned values, policies and declarations, ENSP, supported by many national coalitions and NGOs, urged the Italian Red Cross to comply with the IFRC Guidance of “Non engagement with tobacco companies” and stop accepting sponsorship from PMI and any other tobacco company.

EU Commission launch a public consultation on draft legislation of Traceability and Security feautures for tobacco products
Following the meeting of the Subgroup on traceability and security features that was held on 22 June, three draft secondary legislation were proposed by the European Commission on 4 September, concerning the systems of traceability and security features for tobacco products.

The proposals are now open to public feedback on the European Commission's website, for a period of 4 weeks. The deadline to submit feedback is 2 October 2017. ENSP, with the support and collaboration of experts and other NGOs, will provide a template response to this consultation.
Peak in illicit trade of raw tobaco in Eastern and Southeastern Europe
According to the European Commission's anti-fraud agency OLAF, the illegal sale of cut tobacco in Eastern and Southeastern Europe is on the rise, for reasons yet unclear. It has been identified as an increasing problem within the EU, and causes losses of excise duties of more than 870M€ per year in eight EU Member States alone.
As a response, the European Commission is considering carrying out a review of its directive on the excise duty applied to manufactured tobacco, especially to extend the excise system to raw tobacco, which is currently exonerated from excise duties. At this stage the Commission has been told by the member states to review the current rules, and a public consultation on the review has been finalized. It is expected that the review would not add a new tax on the products, but simply aim at making them more traceable.

Tackling cigarette smuggling from Belarus with higher taxes on cheap white cigarettes
Commissioner Oettinger confirmed that around 10 % of all illicit cigarettes in the EU originate from Belarus, which costs Member States roughly EUR 1 billion per year.
The excise regime for cigarettes in Belarus enables low-segment brands to be subject to much lower excise rates than higher-segment brands, and this results in an ever-increasing price gap. In order to reduce incentives and profitability for smugglers, it is very important that Belarus should make every effort to reduce this gap, by increasing the applicable excise rates for low-segment brands. The Commission met with Belarusian authorities on two occasions last year, and again on 3 and 4 April of this year in Minsk, in the context of the EU-Belarus Coordination Group. Nonetheless, it's obvious that closer cooperation with Belarus and modification of its excise regime have to take place.

Standardised packaging is expanding:
first plain packs are on the market in Hungary
With the appearance of the first cigarette brand in a plain pack in July 2017, Hungary has become the 5th party to the WHO FCTC to implement plain packaging. In Hungary, the final plain packaging implementation date at the manufacturer level will be 20 August 2018, while at the retail level it will be 20 August 2019. Meanwhile, all brands newly registered in the country had been required to be sold in plain packs since 20 August 2016.
At this point plain packaging legislation has been adopted in 8 countries: Australia (2012), the United Kingdom (2016), France (2016), Norway (July 1, 2017), Ireland (Sept. 30, 2017), New Zealand (2018), Hungary (2018) and Slovenia (2020).

Moreover, it is under formal consideration in Canada, Uruguay, Thailand, Singapore, Belgium, Romania, Chile, Turkey, Taiwan, Jersey, Guernsey, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Finland, and South Africa.


"Plain packaging harms the economy"-
A common myth widely used by Tobacco Industry
Standardised packaging is proven to be an ideal tool to reduce the smoking prevalence; and while more and more states introduce plain packaging, tobacco companies keep claiming it is a "brand ban" and try to appeal to the governments with the argument of entailed economic damage caused by this measure.
Euractiv investigated the matter and contacted the European Commission to ask about the tobacco industry's claims that plain packaging would undermine the EU economy. The Commission rejected this claim, arguing that any potential revenue or tax losses would easily be counterbalanced by healthcare and other savings. The Commission also reiterated that the EU Tobacco Products Directive allows EU Member States to introduce such measures where they are justified on public health grounds.

Letter from health groups to PMI: "Stop selling cigarettes"
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH US) and Unfairtobacco mobilised 89 organisations from around the globe and addressed a letter to Philip Morris International (PMI) demanding that they immediately cease the production, marketing and sale of cigarettes.

The move was prompted by a similar recommendation from the Danish Institute for Human Rights, which had been earlier hired by PMI to perform a human rights evaluation but ended their relationship with PMI after conducting a human rights evaluation of the company.

WHO Tobacco-Free Generations Report
On 23 August, WHO Europe published a new report (Towards tobacco-free generations: stopping second-hand smoke and smoking initiation among children) on tobacco-related issues that affect children in Europe, and the various tools that states can use to protect children from tobacco.
Smoking initiation is a problem that occurs predominantly among children and adolescents, as the majority of smokers initiate by age 18. According to the 2013/2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey, 17% of children in the region try smoking by age 13, and 12% are smoking regularly by age 15.

The report sets out to outline the various tools available to states in the form of regulations, international agreements, declarations and strategies. It then describes examples from the UK and Ireland with a view to reaching a tobacco-free generation.

Read the full report.
Will smoking return to French schools?
Several French health associations were informed and immediately expressed their concern about the fact that the Minister of Education proposes allowing high school students to smoke in school grounds, which supposedly will protect them from exposure to terrorist attacks outside the school walls.
DNF, CNCT and Alliance against Tobacco issued a press release warning about the return of tobacco to schools stating this proposal would not meet the objective of protecting students, while at the same time directly jeopardising the health of young people. Moreover, it would be totally inconsistent with the recently announced government objective to achieve a non-smoking generation.

The statement reminds that since tobacco kills one in two of its loyal consumers prematurely, the tobacco industry has an imperative need to target new customers. Young people are therefore a prime priority target. This strategy is unfortunately very successful, as nearly 200.000 young French people start smoking each year.

The health of the new generation is a national priority and in no way should be compromised using an excuse of students' security from possible terrorist attacks, which can not be prevented by introducing such a change. According to the authors other solutions to address the matter, combining physical security and health security, exist and should be taken into consideration.

Read the press release [FR].
IASLC recognises the effort of WALCE, ENSP and other European NGOs to prioritise smoking cessation
In the last edition of "Lung Cancer News" (V2 / N4/ August 2017) the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer did a comprehensive report on the activities dedicated to tobacco cessation taking place in Brussels for WNTD 2017.

IASLC highlighted the importance of tobacco control in the fight against lung cancer and supports the initiatives of WALCE, ENSP, ERS and other European NGOs who participated in the campaign. The activities included a 2-day installation in the center of Brussels, where doctors and volunteers worked to encourage Belgian smokers to quit and provided lung tests and tailored support. Moreover, a high-level round table, hosted by MP Gilles Pargneaux, was initiated by ENSP in partnership with ERS and WALCE and supported Commissioner Andriukaitis (Health and Food Safety)
to prioritise cessation at national level and urged Member States' governments to comply with Art. 14 of the FCTC.

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organisation dedicated to the study of lung cancer. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes more than 6,500 lung cancer specialists in over 100 countries. IASLC members work to enhance the understanding of lung cancer among scientists, members of the medical community and the public. IASLC publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, a valuable resource for medical specialists and scientists who focus on the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.

UN Global Compact bans Tobacco Industry from the initiative
The UN Global Compact (UNGC) is the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative (more than 9,600 companies from over 160 countries) based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. On 1 September its Board made a decison to enhance the integrity measures by exiting a few industries from the membership. Suggested change was further approved by the UN General Secretary on 12 September.
New exclusionary criteria will apply to companies involved in certain high-risk sectors – including the production and manufacture of tobacco products, and nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. Participating companies whose business involves manufacturing or producing tobacco products will be delisted effective 15 October 2017.

Future of the European Health:
Petition of the civil society is supported by 70 MPs
The petition to the European Commission President Juncker calling for more action in the field of EU health has found support of 70 Members of the European Parliament and more than 200 organisations. The initiative was initially launched by a small group of European NGOs as a reaction to a white paper on the future of Europe outlining a possible scenario of less EU action on health after 2020.
Members of the European Parliament signed a statement expressing deep concern about the prospect of reducing EU engagement in the area of health care. They believe that European integration has brought considerable benefits for the health of Europeans; and this cooperation must be sustained to ensure that citizens across the EU enjoy equality of opportunity to receive quality health care and services in their country.

All European and International organisation in health and tobacco control are invited to support the call to action, to increase attention on the need for EU action on health.

Read more and sign the petition here.

Do you have an event coming up or news to celebrate?
Would you like to share your best practices or inform about local initiatives?

Share your work and promote you activities among 1.400 colleagues in Europe and around the globe via
The Network - ENSP monthly newsletter
Meet our members:
Uliana Bakh (Association PROI - Bosnia and Herzegovina)
A network is only as strong as the members holding it together. That is why the ENSP board and Secretariat would like to extend our thanks to all members and friends of the ENSP network for your contributions to a tobacco-free Europe, and introduce you to each other, your organisations and current priorities in tobacco control in a series of interviews with ENSP members from across Europe.

This month we are pleased to share a bit of information on Uliana Bakh and her work within Association PROI in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ENSP member since 2016.

What is you role and how did you get into Tobacco Control?

Driven by smoking disaster in our country, weak policy framework and low engagement of civil society organisations in tobacco control, we in PROI, where I work as Executive Director, decided to change such unacceptable situation. Three years ago, we launched the first Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) tobacco control initiative and from that time, I led the initiative and being proud of great successes of our team, which we made during such short period of time.

Tobacco control is not only about health, it's about human rights, politics and government, education and business practices. I have a background in international development practice and I am glad to be part of tobacco control action, which can significantly improve public health, save lives, as well as support democracy and advance good governance in BiH and worldwide.

What are the biggest challenges in tobacco control in BiH?

Before our initiative, tobacco control was not on any of BiH political agendas and we inherited laws from 90s while smoking prevalence is extremely high (almost 40% among adult population). Weak policies, low level of awareness about smoking consequences and active tobacco industry interventions are the biggest challenges for effective tobacco control measures. Such situation is not only specific for our country. It is reality in entire region of Western Balkans, which deepens the problem and require regional approaches and strategies.

What are you most proud of (your achievements)?
First of all, my biggest achievement as manager is to have such great team of creative people in PROI who are committed to tobacco control and want to create positive changes in our society. During the last two years, we succeeded to put tobacco control into the focus of general population and decision makers, mobilize civil society activists around the issue and made aware tobacco industry that they cannot do whatever they want without consequences. At the moment, we have new tobacco control law for the Federation of BiH in parliamentarian procedure, which is highly harmonized with FCTC and TPD and I strongly believe that very soon we will celebrate the victory of new tobacco control era in our country.

What are the next steps/projects?

In the next period, our main focus will be advocacy for adoption and implementation of effective tobacco control policies in BiH. Also, we will work on mobilization of governmental and civil society partners to create coordinated tobacco control movement which will effectively respond to smoking epidemic and tobacco industry interference in BiH and Western Balkans region.

Thank you Uliana!

Read more about the work of PROI here.

Fraud game of the tobacco industry:
the case of JTI-financed summit in Montenegro

PROI Association has recently started a wide public campaign to attract attention to the fact that JTI financed a high-level summit "Regional Financial Stability in the New Global Environment", which took place in Becici (Montenegro) in June. This is traditional event financed by JTI during the last three years.

Endorsed by more than 60 NGOs, PROI sent letters of concern to all the government representatives present at the Summit reminding them of obligations undertaken as Parties to the FCTC, in particular its Article 5.3, to protect their public health policies from tobacco industry interests. The Letter of Concern was also sent to the World Bank seeking to address this inappropriate situation take the necessary steps to uphold the spirit and principles of Article 5.3 of FCTC.

PROI received the replies from speakers and attendees that they were not aware about the involvement of JTI to the event. Moreover, the World Bank communicated to the organisers that it will not participate in this Summit in the future if it violates the FCTC and the World Bank's Operational Directive 4.76. Federal Ministry of Health (BiH) also replied with a clear and strong message that representatives of FBIH government and parliament should respect Article 5.3 of the FCTC and avoid participation in similar events.

PROI is sure that missing information in the invitations about JTI involvement is not the coincidence but planned unethical strategy to mislead participants and ensure their participation.

This case raised awareness about tobacco industry tactics among decision makers in Western Balkans countries and will hopefully help to avoid similar situations in the future. PROI will continue monitoring tobacco industry to support implementation of the FCTC and adoption of new comprehensive tobacco control policies in BiH.

Contact PROI for more information.
Decline by 20% in smoking prevalence
amongst Ukrainians since 2010
Rates of cigarette smoking in Ukraine have declined dramatically according to new findings released on 5 September by the WHO as part of Ukraine’s second Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). Since the first survey in 2010 smoking prevalence reduced by nearly 20 percent, from 28.4 percent in 2010 to 22.8 percent in 2017. Exposure to secondhand smoke has declined even more dramatically – by 57 percent in the workplace and by nearly 50 percent in homes.
Ukraine has made progress in reducing tobacco use and adopted many key tobacco control initiatives including: prohibiting smoking completely in cafés, bars, restaurants, and health care and educational facilities; prohibiting tobacco advertisement (except on the Internet), sponsorship and promotion; mandating graphic health warning labels on all cigarette packs; and implementing multiple tobacco tax increases.

Joshua Abrams, Director of Eurasia Programs, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids congratulates Ukraine with the great achievements but urges the government to keep up the work in order to protect Ukrainians from harmful effects of tobacco:

"Ukraine must remain committed to policies proven to reduce tobacco use. Ukraine’s Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has an opportunity to vote on legislation this year that would greatly expand protections from secondhand smoke in public places, and prevent tobacco companies from marketing to kids by ending tobacco advertising and promotion at points of sale. The Rada also has an opportunity to continue previous progress in increasing the price of cigarettes by again raising tobacco taxes to keep cheap tobacco out of the hands of kids."

Read the full report.
Congratulations to Cyprus:
Ratification of Illicit Trade Protocol
On 29 August 2017 Cyprus ratified the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

11 more parties still need to join the Protocol to reach the number of 40 in order for the Protocol to come into force.

Users of e-cigarettes are more likely to experience respiratory symptoms

Two new studies presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress (9-13 September) highlight the risks associated with using e-cigarettes, especially for those who also smoke conventional cigarettes.

Within a study, led by Dr Constantine Vardavas from the University of Crete, 122 of the most commonly sold e-cigarette liquids in nine European countries were examined and the research team found that all of them contained at least one substance classified as a health risk. Dr Vardavas concluded "that users should be aware that e-cigarettes are not risk-free, and that doctors should inform their patients that e-cigarettes may contain respiratory irritants."

The other study (by Dr Linnea Hedman and her colleagues from Umeå University in Sweden), a survey of more than 30,000 people in Sweden, discovered that e-cigarette use was most common among people who already smoke, and that people who use both experience more symptoms, such as a persistent cough, wheezing and coughing up mucus. This research provides evidence "that e-cigarettes cannot yet be marketed as a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes."


WHO/Europe Tobacco Control Playbook
WHO's Tobacco Control Playbook developed by its Regional Office for Europe aims to provide a single source of information explaining how tobacco industry players proactively misinform the general public, and offers governments as well as the public health community clear evidence-based responses to their deceptive arguments.
To disseminate this important work carried out by WHO Europe, the Network features key arguments from the Playbook of relevance to ENSP members and stakeholders in the tobacco control community. Read more on how the tobacco industry targets youth to promote its products.
Key Message:

" The tobacco industry has targeted children and young people for decades in its advertising, promotion and sponsorship programmes, primarily to recruit replacement smokers – to replace those who have quit or died from diseases caused by smoking – and to create new markets. In protecting children from tobacco, it is essential to restrict all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and to take steps to normalize tobacco-free lifestyles."
There is overwhelming evidence from tobacco industry documents, academic studies, and the industry’s marketing activities that tobacco companies have been targeting children and young people in their marketing for decades.

Key messages providing the guidelines on how to stop any possible promotion of tobacco products to children and young people:
  • In line with Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), there should be comprehensive bans on all direct and indirect forms of tobacco advertising, sponsorships, and promotions.
  • According to Article 36 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have a right to be protected from any activity that takes advantage of them or that harms their welfare and development. This includes their targeting by tobacco marketing, which is a clear impediment to their healthy development and exploitative of their young age.
  • In the Roadmap of actions to strengthen implementation of the WHO FCTC in the European Region 2015–2025, a key focus area is reshaping social norms. In the Health 2020 policy framework, focus is on creating a culture of health, in which children want to grow up healthily. Key to these is the social normalization of a tobacco-free lifestyle, and preventing tobacco industry efforts to market (and thereby normalize) smoking.

Read more in the
WHO Tobacco Control Playbook.

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