SMOKE FREE PARTNERSHIP UPDATES

SFP QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER Edition 4, 2023


Wednesday, 10 January 2024

SFP POLICY ACTION & COMMUNICATION

SFP publications

Updates on EU and International Institutions

- The proposal for an updated Council’s Recommendation on smoke-free environments, aimed at protecting people across the EU from exposure to second-hand smoke, was initially announced for Q3 2024. However, on 25 October, Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides announced that the Commission hopes to publish a new cancer prevention package by early 2024, including smoke-free environments.

- Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides also announced that it is very likely that the proposal for the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive will be tabled by the next Commission after the 2024 European election.

- The World Health Organization released two new publications, “Freedom from tobacco and nicotine: guide for schools,” and “Nicotine- and tobacco-free school toolkit” to help protect children’s health in many countries. The guide and toolkit are step-by-step manuals for schools to create nicotine- and tobacco-free campuses. The guide and toolkit include topics on how to support students to quit, education campaigns, implementing policies and how to enforce them.

- The 10th session of the Conference of the Parties and the 3rd session of the Meeting of the Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that was meant to take place in Panama in November has been postponed to February 2024 due to security concerns in the country due to anti-mining protests. Instead, a mini-COP, the so-called de minimis virtual session, was held to allow continuity of operations of the secretariat, with a focus on the work plan and the budget for 2024-25.

- The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, a front group created and funded by Philip Morris International, has named Clifford E. Douglas as its new CEO. Like his predecessor, Douglas worked in tobacco control for many years and likely remains connected to many stakeholders in the field.

SFP events

-  SFP organised a Workshop on Tobacco Taxation in Brussels, Belgium on 7 November. The Workshop featured presentations by SFP’s tax experts Prof. Ángel López Nicolás, Dr. Hana Ross, and Dr. Rob Branston, SFP Partner Shira Kislev, and communications expert Andreea Petre-Goncalves. The recordings of the presentations can be found on Smoke Free Partnership’s YouTube channel here.

- SFP held its annual in person Coalition Meeting in Brussels, Belgium on 8 November. The Meeting featured discussions on how to better coordinate tobacco control advocacy efforts, key achievement of the current year, and priorities for 2024.

SFP Participation to External Events

-  SFP attended the 2023 Annual Summit of the European Cancer Organisation. Here, the Organisation’s Manifesto for the 2024 European elections was unveiled, containing strong recommendations on tobacco control. You can read the Manifesto here.

- SFP attended the 2023 EU Tax Symposium co-hosted by the European Commission and European Parliament. The aim was to gather insights on the future of taxation in the European Union. Particularly relevant for Tobacco Control was the panel on behavioural taxes and their role to support healthier and more sustainable consumer choices. SFP gather some intel on the revision of the Tobacco Tax Directive: the revision will be carried out by the next Commission and coordination between DG TAXUD and DG SANTE is sought.

- SFP participated to the Launch of the Women's Health Parliamentary Interest Group at the European Parliament organised by the European Institute of Women’s Health and hosted by MEP Tilly Metz (Greens, LU). The new Interest Group aims to embed women’s health in the work of the European Parliament by uniting a diverse group of MEPs to promote access to high quality prevention, treatment and healthcare for all women in Europe.

NEWS FROM PARTNERS

The Catalan Institute of Oncology conducted a consultation on SAFE

The Tobacco Control Unit of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) conducted a consultation to experts on barriers, opportunities and best practices on Smoke and aerosol free environments (SAFE) within the context of the Joint Action on Tobacco Control 2 (JATC2). Through this consultation, a Weight of Evidence paper and a Position Paper were produced.

Detailed profiles of FCTC Articles 5 to 20 published

The Global Tobacco Control Progress Hub, the world’s only independent public health treaty surveillance platform, released detailed profiles of FCTC Articles 5 to 20 in advance of COP10. The profiles reflect implementation details of selected FCTC articles and provide context and comparative data for national and regional treaty adoption. This interactive data analytics platform is a collaboration of ASH Canada and the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is supported with funding provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

New data reveals the rate of implementation of key tobacco control policies decreased between 2020 and 2022

The Global Barometer of Tobacco Control MPOWER reveals that implementation of several tobacco control policy measures required by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control decelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, following 12 years of steady progress. The largest declines occurred in low-income countries and those located in the Eastern Mediterranean and South-East Asia.

Belgium presents its tobacco control plan which includes tax increases, smoke-free areas and a ban on disposable vaping products

The Belgian Council of Ministers approved the National Tobacco Control Plan, which proposes a series of measures aimed at protecting the young from taking up smoking. The federal government also plans to introduce a ban on the sale of disposable electronic cigarettes. Belgian Health Minister Franck Vandenbroucke announced a 25% tax increase on tobacco products from 1 January 2024. Furthermore, starting from 2025, smoke-free areas will apply within a ten-metre radius of the entrance to healthcare and educational establishments and public libraries; smoking in commercial transports will be banned; temporary sales outlets will no longer be permitted. Hotels, restaurants and cafés will still be able to sell tobacco. Smoking areas within the hospitality sector will continue to be permitted, but access will be denied to minors. Finally, tobacco retailers will have to ask for proof of identity from any buyer who appears to be under 25.

France adopts its new National Tobacco Control Programme

The French government published its new National Tobacco Control Programme containing a ban on disposable e-cigarettes, plain packaging for vapes and an expansion of Smoke-free environments to include beaches, forests, and areas in front of schools and universities. However, the Programme lacks a significant increase in tobacco taxation: the slight increase in tobacco prices barely reflects the increase in inflation in the country. You can access the press release from our Partner Alliance Contre le Tabac (ACT) here.

CancerFonden releases key learnings from the Swedish Tobacco Control policy.

Sweden has implemented various decisive policy changes over time that has led to its slow smoking rate. A steady increase of taxes, age limit, ban on tobacco advertising, oversight mechanisms, early introduction of smoking-free public spaces and cost-free smoke cessation services have all proven successful to reach the current level. There is, however, work left to be done before Sweden reaches the EU's goal of a tobacco free generation by 2040. Indeed, the total nicotine use is around 19%. 

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