SFP Statement: Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is the most ambitious roadmap yet to end tobacco in Europe

Wednesday, 03 February 2021

Brussels, 3 February 2021: Smoke Free Partnership (SFP) welcomes the launch of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and its ambitious goals towards a Tobacco Free Generation by 2040. The EU shows ambition and leadership in tobacco control strategies, becoming the largest jurisdiction and one of only a handful around the world with a stated target to end tobacco use.

The plan unveiled today includes two important targets:

  • Reducing tobacco use by 30% by 2025 compared to 2010 to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and WHO NCD targets
  • Achieving a 5% tobacco prevalence level by 2040.

Strong tobacco control policies to implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) must no longer be delayed, neglected, or watered down by the EU or its Member States. The Cancer Plan addresses this need by prioritising proven policy interventions, which SFP has been advocating for vigorously throughout the recent years:

  • the revision of the EU Tobacco Products Directive to address novel tobacco products, to implement plain standardised packaging, and to achieve a full ban on tobacco flavours
  • the revision of the of the Tobacco Tax Directive and of the framework for cross-border shopping of tobacco to promote higher tax and price convergence between member states and to protect the health impact of tobacco taxation
  • the revision of the best practice recommendations for smoke-free environments
  • a more rigorous implementation of the EU tobacco advertising rules.

We also strongly welcome the clear political commitment to transparency in policy-making with respect to tobacco control, in line with the obligations under Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC.

The policies will greatly help to reduce the burden of cancers,  cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases and a host of other chronic conditions caused by tobacco use. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has strained health systems, economies and societies, causing disproportionately higher harm to people who already suffered from chronic diseases, many of them tobacco-induced. Tobacco consumption remains the largest and most preventable risk factor for NCDs.  It is crucial for the pandemic recovery to create a policy environment that promotes health for all people, and helps to prevent diseases.

Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan’s ambitious target to end tobacco in Europe will require the engagement of policymakers, academia and civil society organisations. As the leading European tobacco control advocacy coalition working to achieve a Europe free from the disease and suffering caused by tobacco, SFP will continue to support the highest possible level of implementation of the WHO FCTC in the context of the Cancer Plan.


Relevant SFP policy positions and materials:

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