Smoke Free Places Workshop

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

17 April 2007. The Smoke Free Partnership organized a workshop entitled Smoke Free Places as part of the EPHA Conference Health in the Enlarged EU in Bratislava.

On 17th April, The Smoke Free Partnership organized a workshop entitled Smoke Free Places as part of the EPHA Conference Health in the Enlarged EU . The workshop was endorsed by the ENSP and the EHN.

The workshop was designed to bring together national tobacco control advocates/coalitions and advocates from the general public health community to discuss the need for and assess the prospects of further smoke-free campaigns and collaboration in their own countries; to go over the rationale for 100% smoke-free policies and the main scientific argument (the proven danger of passive smoking - smoke-free legislation is health and safety legislation and to update participants on the development of guidelines on Article 8 FCTC

The event started with a brainstorm on participant’s perceptions of “Smoke Free Places” which highlighted the participants’ high level of understanding of the concept.

Four complementary presentations were made, combining NGO ‘know-how”, expertise on effective smoke free campaign at national level (Aurelijus Veryga from the Tobacco control coalition in Lithuania, ENSP), governmental standpoints on how to create a successful environment for the introduction of smoke free laws (Dr Vesna-Kerstin Petric, Ministry of Health, Directorate for Public Health, Slovenia), international update and call for action regarding Article 8 and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) (Fiona Godfrey, ERS Policy Adviser) and how to build strong, competent and strategic smoke free coalition at national level (Elspeth Lee, Tobacco control manager, Cancer Research UK).

Lesson learnt and recommendations from the presentation by Aurelijus Veryga:

1. The fact that the smoke-free legislation was based on health and safety legislation proved crucial to have public backing.

2. The campaign was vital for success (elements included press conferences, media coverage).

3. Industry opposition should not be underestimated; in Lithuania, provisions concerning cigar clubs were introduced by the industry out of the blue at the last moment and their “surprise tactic” meant that NGOs had difficulty to react.

Lesson learnt and recommendations from the presentation by Vesna Petric:

1. Assess the situation. Be aware of strengths and weaknesses.

2. Build and plan capacity.

3. Develop partnerships with the media.

4. Use opportunities and adapt to new circumstances.

5. Monitor public opinion.

Lesson learnt and recommendations from the presentation by Fiona Godfrey:

Effective enforcement is key to smoke Free legislation Each year, World No Tobacco Day is held on May 31st. The theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day is Smokefree Environments. This provides us with a unique opportunity to raise awareness around smokefree issues. 3. If you are thinking of launching a campaign on smoke free in your country or want to give it a push, plan and prepare for World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2007. This could be an excellent opportunity to make the case for effective smokefree policies in your country.

Voices Campaign, a Global Voices Report will be released on WNTD. The report will be the first global status report on smokefree air and will make the case for country implementation of strong smokefree policies. It will highlight regional “voices” of governmental officials and NGOs working on smokefree policies. It is important for your organisations to support the Global Voices Campaign for the strongest guidelines at COP-2 in Bangkok (July 2007). To help with your campaign around WNTD and Smoke Free, the Global Voices Campaign team will also prepare a Swiss cheese press release and a letter to the editor which you can make use of and adapt with your organizations’ information. These materials and further information on WNTD 2007 will be available on the Global Voices campaign website in the first half of May. cf.

Lesson learnt and recommendations from the presentation by Elspeth Lee:

1. 1999-2003 demonstrated the failure of the voluntary approach, therefore a change of approach was needed.

2. In 2004 the UK government issued a white paper with pub/club exemptions which stressed the fact that many G’t departments would have to be persuaded.

3. Despite the greatest public obstacles, the UK smoke free campaign was successful in reversing the Government plans in favour of a comprehensive ban (with no exemptions).

4. Importance of learning from other countries.

5. Build a diverse coalition with a common aim.

6. Utilise strength of members.

7. Maintain internal organisational support.

8. Focus on workers’ health.

9. Split the opposition.

10. Find a strong political figure.

11. Use media rebuttals to re-centre the issue.

12. Develop public knowledge/support.

13. Maintain media momentum.

14. Develop public/private lobbying.

Many participants requested the speaker’s presentations as they found them extremely useful. All presentations can now be downloaded from the Smoke Free Partnership website.

Following the presentations and a brief question-and-answer session, the participants split into three groups (roughly geographically defined) to discuss some of the questions outlined in the workshop objectives. A report of theses breakout sessions will be available soon on this website. Please note that the following recommendations emerged as an Immediate Call for Action:

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