December 2017 - Happy Holidays!
Thank you for a productive year at ENSP!
As 2017 draws to an end and the festive season sets in, ENSP Secretariat, joined by its Executive Board, would like to thank each and everyone of you for all the support you have given the network throughout the year, whether you are a member, a partner, a contributor or just a friend.

While new challenges emerge bringing undoubtedly greater opportunities, the whole team would like to tell you how much we value your on-going input and the impact of your work at national level. Your successes is the successes of everyone working in tobacco control. Your victory is the victory against the tobacco industry. The strength of our network will weakens the attacks of our enemies. Looking at the near future, each and everyone of us needs to face new threats. Products misleadingly advertised as a healthy choice are being launched on many markets across Europe and in the rest of the world. The tobacco industry is using everything in its power to divide our community, by lying to people - including policy makers - with fake evidence and skewed research. It is also desperate to clean its image and would like everyone to see it as a philanthropist - philanthropist that keeps on selling a product that kills more than any weapon, any illness and any other product put together.

In this current difficult context where wolves are now dressed as lambs but still keep their bloody sharp teeth, ENSP Secretariat is absolutely committed to support you to counterattack and progress at your respective level, using your success stories to support those with greater needs. Because in the fight against the tobacco industry, a real victory is the one shared by all of us. We very much look forward to work with you, by your side in 2018 as we have done for the past 20 years.

Our best wishes for this festive season and a happy new year!

ENSP Board and Secretariat
Submit your Abstract:
ENSP-CNPT International Conference on Tobacco Control
14-16 June 2018 - Madrid (Spain)
On 14 -16 June 2018 in Madrid, Spain, ENSP together with its Spanish member CNPT is organising the 3rd International Conference on Tobacco Control 2018.

Submit your Abstract proposals until 20 January 2018 via the Conference website.
December 2017 Events
European Regional meeting on implementation of the WHO FCTC
ENSP President Francisco Rodriguez Lozano represented our Network at the European Regional Meeting on the implementation of the WHO FCTC held on 30 November and 1 December in Heidelberg, Germany. The meeting focused on strong tobacco taxes and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals through the application of the WHO FCTC.
Expert meeting on tobacco surveillance
Ten international experts, including ENSP Secretary General Cornel Radu-Loghin, the Knowledge Hub on Surveillance and the Convention Secretariat participated in the expert meeting on tobacco surveillance - with reference to Article 20 of the Convention in Helsinki on 11-13 December. During the meeting ways to enhance research, monitoring and surveillance in Parties with none, partial or good research/data were discussed. Actions to be aligned with article 20 of WHO FCTC : Research, surveillance and exchange of information.
ENSP Support Visit to France
Following the invitation of ENSP French member Alliance contre le tabac, a group of experts consisting of Alice Grainger Gasser (health advocate, member of FCA working group), Laura Graen (consultant at Unfairtobacco, board member of the Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network), Marine Faure (policy officer at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) and ENSP Board and Secreatriat members participated in a 3-day support visit in Paris.

On 11, 12 and 14 December the experts conducted a series of interviews of high-level officials and representatives of the national tobacco control community. The goal of this initiative was to get a new prospective at the situation in France related to tobacco control, gather information and provide recommendations on enforcement of legislation and tackling high smoking prevalence. A report will be produced summarising all the information collated.
ENSP Support Visit to Georgia
Another Support Visit took place in Tbilisi, Georgia on 21-22 December under the invitation of the National Control Alliance of Georgia. The group of tobacco control experts including Oga Knorre (Senior Program Coordinator at CTFK), Oxana Domenti (health and social policy expert and co-chair of Parlamentarian Global TB Caucas), Leszek Bartlomiejczyk (track and trace consultant and Vice President of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association) and ENSP Secretariat conducted a series of meetings and interviews with local stakeholders (WHO, Ministries, National Parliament, NCDC and civil society). The main objectif of the visit is to focus on tackling illicit trade and related topics such as taxation and implementation of the new tobacco control law.

ENSP President Dr. Rodriguez Lozano about "Spain, the WHO, the EU and tobacco smuggling"
Dr. Francisco Rodríguez Lozano reflects on the obligations of the Member States, in particular Spain, under the WHO FCTC, the Illicit Trade Protocol and Tobacco Products Directive in the prospective of the newly-adopted tobacco traceability system.

Spain was one of the first countries to ratify to Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade, which will come into force next year once it gathers 7 more parties. Also, after recent transposition of the TPD to Spanish national legislation, it is committed to implementation of all its articles including the above-mentioned traceability regulations. Traceability system will allow tracking of each pack of tobacco from leaving the factory until it reaches the point of sale.
This measure will increase control over smuggling, a problem that worries governments, because of its negative influence on tax revenues. Both the FCTC and TPD are very clear about the fact that tobacco control and monitoring should be done by a party independent from the tobacco industry. Nonetheless, in the European Union there were numerous cases of contraband trials where it has been shown that behind the scheme was the tobacco industry itself.

In the period of the consultation on the traceability system, tobacco companies have been making an enormous effort, lobbying for a system that they can control. A system developed by Phillip Morris and then ceded to the other three large companies, called Codentify, was presented as the best solution. When the countries understood that they could not go against the FCTC, they changed the name (Inexto) and claimed it was an independent company, but everyone now knows that the PMI is behind it.

Dr. Rodriguez Lozano stresses the issue of industry interference further by providing an example of the Government Delegate from the Canary Islands who was intending to exclude the Canaries from traceability system.

In the end, he calls on Spanish government to prioritise public health and become pro-active advocates of the regulations Spain committed to respect:
“As a president of the ENSP, and a member of the National Committee for the Prevention of Smoking in Spain, I would like to ask our government on behalf of Spanish and European healthcare, to have a clear position in Brussels, to make our voice heard… and take the side of the health of Spanish and all Europeans and not the commercial interests of a industry that causes a lot of suffering, death and expense to our health systems”.Text block at your service. Replace this text with yours.

Read more... [in Spanish]
Rules for Tobacco tracking and tracing system adopted
Following the consultation on 2 draft laws concerning traceability of tobacco products, on 15 December the European Commission published secondary legislation clarifying the measures that EU countries and economic operators need to enact to put in place the EU-wide tracking and tracing system in accordance with the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU).

The Implementing Regulation on technical standards for the establishment and operation of a traceability system for tobacco products contains the rules that will ensure that all unit packets of tobacco products produced in, destined for or placed on the EU market will be marked with a unique identifier and their movements recorded throughout the supply chain. Member States will appoint an entity ('ID issuer') responsible for generating and issuing the unique identifiers. Furthermore, the Regulation provides rules for this system to remain fully independent, in particular from the tobacco industry.

The Implementing Decision on technical standards for security features applied to tobacco products obliges EU countries to require security features applicable to packets of tobacco products, composed of at least five types of authentication elements (including overt, covert and semi-covert). At least one of these elements must be provided by an independent 3rd party provider. Member States have a responsibility to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the security features.

EU countries and economic operators will now start working towards the two systems of traceability and security features which should be in place by 20 May 2019 for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco and by 24 May 2024, for all other tobacco products (such as cigars, cigarillos and smokeless tobacco products).


DNF wins 2 court cases on smokefree regulation compliance in France
The Court of Appeal of Paris has just found guilty, in the framework of a dispute initiated by DNF (“The Rights of Non-smokers”, ENSP member in France), two well-known establishments of the Parisian Grands Boulevards for their violation of smokefree legislation - maintaining their closed and completely covered terraces as smoking areas.

They were previously convicted of the same violation, also in the case initiated by DNF, on 11 June 2015. That resulted in a penalty and Court order to comply with the Public Health Code and the Labor Code. Nonetheless, the establishments persisted with keeping smoking terraces in place.

Faced with this intolerable situation, DNF returned to Court to ensure the execution of the sentences and succeeded. These 2 victories will hopefully serve as an example to restaurants and cafes owners that do not comply with the regulations.

In this long judicial fight against illegal terraces conducted by DNF since 2007, which has experienced so many ups and downs, it became obvious that despite having a very comprehensive legislation in place, enforcement and control should still be improved.

Hopefully, these two convictions mark a turning point in the application of smokefree law on the terraces of cafes and restaurants, especially when there is increasing support of general public in favor of more protection against smoking, including on the terraces. The initiative "my terrace without tobacco" is an example to illustrate this optimistic trend.

Read more... [in French]

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Register for Tob-G online course on tobacco cessation
An online training course for health care professionals has been launched in November 2017 as a result of Tob-g research project. Its aim is to provide an individualised approach to smoking cessation within five clearly distinctive subpopulations of smokers, who obviously cannot continue to be treated as a single entity.
Course structure:

The course is divided accordingly to the 5 guidelines produced under the Tob-g project. Each participant will have the opportunity to choose one or more of the guidelines offered in this course. These are the following:

Guideline’s Elements

  1. A video lecture for each module of the guidelines with English subtitles available in a downloadable format
  2. Module presentations in a downloadable format
  3. Knowledge test to be filled in following the completion of the course.
After completing the Tob-G course you will be able to:
  • Understand the special risks of smoking in each high-risk population group
  • Be familiar with the core smoking cessation interventions
  • Apply setting specific smoking cessation interventions

Register for the Tob-G course...

The Law of Azerbaijan Republic "On restriction of tobacco use" passed in the Parliament

On 1 December 2017 the Azerbaijani Parliament conducted a 3rd Plenary Session to discuss the final draft Bill "On restriction of tobacco use". After the session the Bill was passed and is now waiting for approval by the President of Azerbaijan Republic.

The new Law of the Azerbaijan Republic "On restriction of tobacco use" defines the legal basis for protection of public health of the country, promoting healthy lifestyles, healthy growth and development of children and youth, prevention of harmful habits, reduction of harmful effects of tobacco use and secondhand tobacco smoke. All kinds of hookahs and electronic cigarettes are also regulated as tobacco products within the scope of this law. The law consists of 17 Articles.

The new bill includes broader issues of tobacco control, including those related to creating smoke-free public places, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship ban etc. The adoption of such comprehensive bill will result in effective tobacco control in Azerbaijan, including measures necessary to protect people from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. Moreover, it is expected that after adopting of new bill the positive changes will affect all related tobacco control Laws in Azerbaijan.

The Public Health and Reforms Center of the Ministry of Health of Azerbaijan Republic (PHRC) have had close collaboration with different agencies and stakeholders and participated in range of activities regarding new Bill. Many of those actions have been implemented under the recent project from Bloomberg Initiative, which contributes to achievement of the advancement of tobacco control legislation in Azerbaijan.

Read more about TC in Azerbaijan...

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. In this edition, read about how tobacco industry and industry front groups such as the International Tobacco Growers' Association (ITGA) claim that tobacco control measures, by reducing leaf demand, cause poverty in tobacco producing regions and a desperate situation for smallholders who they claim have no alternative but to grow the crop.

Does tobacco control harm tobacco growers?

Key Message:
" Tobacco control measures do not harm growers. It does not lead to a sudden drop in leaf demand. It is the extremely monopolized tobacco industry that creates a weak bargaining position for farmers, causing poverty and other harms in tobacco farming regions."
The reality is that the majority of global tobacco leaf production is traded internationally, and controlled by a very small number of multi-national companies, therefore tobacco control measures in any one country are unlike to impact on tobacco farmers in that country.

Key messages summarising the facts to counter the TC's argument:
  • When tobacco control measures are being discussed and implemented in a tobacco growing country or during sessions of the Conference of the Parties of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC COPs), tobacco industry and farmers' groups often argue that they will reduce income or even ban the farming of tobacco, alleging that tobacco is a lucrative crop that helps alleviate poverty.
  • Tobacco control measures are leading to a slow decline in leaf demand mostly from non tobacco growing countries, but not a sudden drop. The majority of tobacco leaf is traded internationally, therefore a decline in consumption in an individual country has little impact on tobacco farmers in that country.
  • Tobacco companies' pricing and other strategies put farmers in a weak bargaining position and cause poverty, food insecurity and child labour in tobacco farming regions. There are several models of implementing sustainable alternative livelihoods, in line with Article 17 of the FCTC, already implemented in several countries, but more research and pilot projects are needed to be ready to help farmers be prepared ahead of leaf demand declines in future.
  • The WHO regards the PMI funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and all projects or parties associated with it as an arm of the tobacco industry. As such, cooperation with them is prohibited for WHO and all Parties to the FCTC under Article 5.3 of the convention.
  • The major threat posed over time by tobacco to any country remains the threat to the health of smokers and those affected by second-hand smoke, and the associated health, environmental and social costs.

Read more in the WHO Tobacco Control Playbook.

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