Tuesday, 20 June 2023

SFP Policy Actions & Communications

SFP Input into Consultations:

- SFP made its submission to the European Commissions public consultation on the evaluation of the General Framework for Tobacco Control (TPD and TAD). Many thanks to coalition partners for their support and for sending in their contributions to the submission process.

Environment and Sustainability:

- On May 31, in resonance with WHO’s World No Tobacco Day 2023 theme of “We need food, not tobacco,” SFP called upon the EU to stop subsidising tobacco farming through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). CAP currently provides tobacco farmers between €100 and €270 millionover a 5-year period (2023-2027). This is in spite of the fact that tobacco plantations have beenfound to abuse migrant workers and pollute the environment with toxic nicotine and pesticides.

- Between 29 May and 2 June, SFP joined forces with the Stop Tobacco Pollution Alliance (STPA) in Paris during the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-2) to advocate for a ban on cigarette filters. SFP pushed for key messages to guarantee that the currently negotiated UN plastic treaty talks align with EU and global legal tobacco control commitments. Cigarette filters are the most common piece of litter that, given its toxicity, represents both health and environmental risks. A ban on filters is also within the scope of the treaty negotiations. 

Updates from the EU Institutions

- The European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, has called on the European Commission to review the way it interacts with representatives of the tobacco industry’s interests. According to O’Reilly, it is only the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety that proactively publishes details of its interactions with the tobacco lobby.

- SFP expressed concern over the event “Recipe for a Smoke-Free Europe: Learnings from the Swedish Experience” which was hosted by the European Parliament on 31 May, for possible connections with the tobacco industry. MEP speakers at the event have either previously organised events with tobacco companies, met with tobacco lobbyists on several occasions, and/or promoted the tobacco industry’s “harm reduction” narrative in the media. In light of the potential conflicts of interests, SFP called upon the European Parliament to disclose funding of the event and to comply with Article 5.3 of the FCTC.

- On June 7, 2023 Fondazione Veronesi, in collaboration with the European Cancer Organisation, organized an event at the European Parliament entitled ‘Tobacco Taxation Policies for a smoke-free Europe.’ Speakers included MEP Alessandra Moretti, MEP Dolors Montserrat, Sabrina Molinaro, Giovanni Fattore, and Joachim Schüz. The event gave evidence to support the claim that taxation remains the most effective way to promote smoking cessation and prevent smoking initiation.

COP 10 and MOP 3

The next COP10 and MOP3 will take place in Panama in November 2023. The Convention Secretariat is pleased to announce that the application process for observer status to the COP and to the MOP is now open online. New Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are invited to apply by 22 August 2023 for the COP and 29 August 2023 for the MOP. Applications are accessible on the following links:



SFP events

- On June 20, SFP organised its second Coalition Call 2023. SFP shared recent updates regarding the next COP10 and MOP3 and efforts to advocate for a ban on cigarette filters in the upcoming UN Plastics Treaty.

SFP Participation in External Events

- On April 19, 2023 Lilia Olefir took part in workshop on “The influence strategies of the tobacco lobby within the European institutions” where she presented on SFP's infographic on the tobacco industry's declared presence in EU policy-making environment. The workshop was organised by MEPs Pelletier (The Left) and Rivasi (The Greens). - Between April 26 and 28, 2023 SFP’s policy team participated in the 9th European Conference on Tobacco or Health (ECToH).

  • Luk Joossens, Special Advisor of SFP, held a presentation on “FCTC compliance and monitoring from different perspectives.”
  • Lilia Olefir presented on “Taxes & Transborder commercialization.”
  • Chloé Momas presented on the “Tobacco industry’s greenwashing activities through Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

- Between May 29 and 2 June 2023, SFP participated in the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) on the UNEP Plastics Treaty to advocate for a ban on cigarette filters.

- On June 14, 2023 Lilia Olefir took part in the third tobacco task force roundtable in Strasbourg. The event was entitled “Taxation, traceability, levers in the fight against the parallel trade of tobacco.”

Corporate Political Activity: Taxonomies and Model of Corporate Influence on Public Policy

- Former SFP director Anca Toma contributed to this new research by the University of Bath'sTobacco Control Research Group on the influence strategies of tobacco and other unhealthy commodity industries (UCIs) on public health policies. UCIs have consistently been found to stop governments and global organisations from adopting such policies through what is known as corporate political activity (CPA). This research identifies framing and action strategies employed by UCIs to exert influence on public health policies. We can only develop effective countermeasures to prevent CPAs from subverting and corrupting public decision-making by understanding them.


Towards a Tobacco Free Generation in France 

The Comité National Contre Le Tabagisme (CNCT) has published a White Paper on achieving a tobacco-free generation and a series of proposals for the French National Tobacco Control Programme 2023-2027.

Frances Socially Responsible Investment label signals the sectoral exclusion of tobacco

Thanks to the hard work of the Comité National Contre Le Tabagisme (CNCT), the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) label, set up by the French Ministry of the Economy and Finance, has announced the sectoral exclusion of tobacco.

Lidl Denmark to stop sales of tobacco and nicotine 

In partnership with the Danish Cancer Society, Lidl Denmark has decided to halt all sales of tobacco and nicotine products by 2028. The phase-out will start with shops removing 20% of the cigarettes on shelves over the summer of 2023. New LIDL shops will be tobacco-free. By the end of 2028, all stores should be tobacco-free.

Belgian ban on nicotine pouches faces tobacco industry resistance

The Belgian Minister of Health has begun implementing a ban on nicotine pouches. Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) decided to ban nicotine bags because, according to him, they can be a stepping stone to smoking at a young age. British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International are currently contesting the ban at the Council of State, the highest administrative court of Belgium.

Belgian Ministry of Health rules on online e-cigarette advertising

In response to a parliamentary question on e-cigarette appearances on the social media platform TikTok, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke ruled that visuals of e-cigarettes online are considered advertising. This means that Belgium not only has a ban on online sales of e-cigarettes but also has an online display ban.

ASH Scotland: World No Tobacco Day 2023

For World No Tobacco Day 2023, ASH Scotland spotlighted the WHO theme of ‘we need food, not tobacco’, by celebrating the efforts of the Scottish Government and Africa Lakes Company to help former tobacco farms in Malawi transition to more sustainable agriculture. A motion was also introduced in the Scottish Parliament supporting WNTD. 

ASH Scotland backs call to ban disposable e-cigarettes

On 8 June the RCPCH (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) issued a call to both the UK and Scottish Governments for an outright ban on disposable e-cigarettes citing youth uptake,  health and environmental concerns; this call was backed by RCPE (Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh) and ASH Scotland.

Belgium: The Superior Health Council calls for a ban on cigarette filters

According to the Belgian Superior Health Council (SHC), cigarettes with filters are just as harmful to health as cigarettes without filters, as they create a false sense of security and may even increase the amount of carcinogenic substances in cigarette smoke. The SHC recommends a ban on cigarette filters, both in Belgium and at European level. 

The Netherlands: Minister calls for filters ban

The Netherlands’ junior infrastructure minister, Vivianne Heijnen, called for a ban on cigarette filters to reduce public litter. An outright ban on filters is the most effective option to achieve the government’s target of reducing filter litter by 70 per cent, according to Heijnen. The current model of discouraging smoking and littering, she says, will result in only a 15 per cent reduction by 2026.

Finland: Civil Society calls for sales ban of nicotine pouches in supermarkets 

The Cancer Society of Finland and 6 other Finnish public health organizations have sent an open letter to Finnish supermarket companies to urge them not to start selling nicotine pouches. This call stems from concerns that the legislation concerning nicotine pouches is not yet ready. The companies were asked to protect the health of children and adolescents while waiting for revisions to the Finnish Tobacco Act.

Ban disposable vapes - Alliance contre le Tabac at the French National Assembly 

On 25 May, Alliance contre le Tabac (ACT) held a press conference alongside MP Francesca Pasquini entitled “The urgency of banning disposable vapes” at the French National Assembly. ACT called for more regulation on disposable vapes, given that these products represent.  important negative health and environmental impacts. A proposed bill to ban disposable vapes has already been tabled in November 2022, receiving the signature of more than 60 MPs. This text is a direct result of the advocacy efforts by ACT and other civil society groups. 

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