Introducing human rights aspect to tobacco control - on the way to tobacco endgame
As a part of the ENSP-ECTC Series of Webinars, the topic of tobacco and human rights will be addressed during the session on 14 December (13:00 – 14:30 CET), under the title “Introducing human rights aspect to tobacco control - on the way to tobacco endgame”.
While the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) was an important victory for public health, its implementation is uneven and some articles have been particularly neglected. Access to smoking and nicotine dependency treatment, covered under Article 14 of the FCTC, has been one of the most neglected obligations.
The right to health is recognized in numerous global and regional human rights instruments including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR).
A human rights approach to ending the tobacco epidemic is unique and could help overcome the challenges in FCTC implementation, as it frames the right to be free from smoking addiction as a human right and implores or requires governments to advance human development by implementing measures that decrease smoking. Until recently a human rights approach to advance tobacco control has been given little attention, but in the past year, we have seen remarkable progress in areas that are particularly relevant to human rights and provide unique opportunities to further integrate tobacco control in the national, regional and global human rights agendas and to help accelerate the implementation of tobacco control measures at the national level.
Join this webinar to learn more about this topic. Registrations are open until 13 December 2020, 20:00 (CET).
Using Point of Sale Investigations to Successfully Advance TAPS Policy
Together with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, ENSP will host another webinar on Tuesday, December 15, from 13:30 to 15:00 (CET) under the umbrella of ENSP-ECTC Conference, titled “Using Point of Sale Investigations to Successfully Advance TAPS Policy: Case Studies from Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Bosnia Herzegovina”
Presenters: Debra Rosen, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; George Bakhturidze, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Implementation and Monitoring Center in Georgia; Jamilya Sadykova, National Coalition For a Smoke-Free Kazakhstan; and Uliana Bakh, Association “Progressive Reinforcement of Organisations and Individuals.”
While the world’s biggest tobacco companies – British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco, and Philip Morris International – claim only to market their deadly products to adults, point of sale promotional tactics associated with these companies such as posters, displays at children’s eye-level, flavored tobacco products, and tobacco products positioned next to candies and sweets are consistently found at points of sale around the world. In this webinar, tobacco control advocates from Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Bosnia Herzegovina will share findings of point of sale investigations examining common promotional tactics observed in Eurasia and discuss how these findings were used to generate public awareness about tobacco industry efforts to addict a new generation of young consumers and bolster policy advocacy campaigns to advance Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorships bans.
On 16 December (15:00 – 16:30) CET another webinar of ENSP-ECTC series will take place – “E-cigarettes and Novel Tobacco Products: what do we know so far?”. The program is built around recent reserach outcomes and survey results from Europe, Canada and the US.
The global nicotine market is rapidly evolving due to the recent emergence and expansion of novel products, such as e-cigarettes, various vaping devices, and heated tobacco products. Regulators around the world are considering a broad range of policies to minimize uptake of novel products, particularly with regards to restrictions on forms of promotion and product attributes that may enhance their appeal to current non-smokers, especially among adolescents and young people.
Even though the existing studies and data on novel products might be considered limited, mainly concerning the long-term health effects, there is clear evidence that they present a health hazard both for individual users and for public health in general. Ultimately, those 2 categories of risk have to be taken into account from regulatory as well as medical prospective. Current smokers should be encouraged to quit completely, without switching to new harmful alternatives to conventional tobacco, while addressing the danger of smoking renormalisation and prevention measures should be a top-priority on the countries’ tobacco control agenda.
On the 17th December 2020, the ENSP Youth Group organises a Roundtable on the topic of Smoke-Free Generation, as part of the ENSP-ECTC Online Conference. During one hour and a half, young and motivated people will have the opportunity to learn from tobacco control experts and discuss about the priorities in further actions to be taken in order to empower the young generation to better understand and fight against the tobacco industry tactics. The preliminary agenda and registration information will follow soon!
1st Joint Action on Tobacco Control:
Final Conference 4 December 2020
The Joint Action on Tobacco Control (JATC) project has completed its very interesting and fruitful circle and eventually, three years later, it is coming to an end. Last Friday, on the 4th December 2020, project partners from all participating countries (30 EU partners and 13 international partners) gathered for a closing meeting of this important initiative - the 1st European Joint Action on Tobacco Control - to provide an overview of the tasks performed, the milestones and deliverables that have been met. JATC project created a unique scientifically-based network specialising in tobacco control, which is a significant step for tobacco control in Europe and beyond.
JATC was launched in October 2017 as a collaborative action between the European Commission and the EU Member States, built on evidence-based tobacco control policies. The overarching aim of this project was to support the implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) throughout the 28 EU MS at a national, regional and European level, in order to improve Public Health protection in the EU.
Learn more about JATC project and stay tuned for project outcomes via jaotc.eu
EU public consultation on Tobacco Taxation is open till 5 January 2021
Tobacco taxation is seen as the most cost-effective instrument to reduce tobacco consumption and prevalence. The high number of smokers in the EU remains a major concern with 26% of adults and 29% of young people smoking, and with price gaps between EU countries fuelling unintended cross-border shopping.
European Commission launched the revision of the Directive 2011/64/EU on the structure and rates of excise duty applied to manufactured tobacco, and published the Inception Impact Assessment to inform citizens and stakeholders about the Commission's plans in order to allow them to provide feedback on the intended initiative.
As part of the EU’s beating cancer plan, this initiative will take a comprehensive approach that in addition to taxation addresses public health, illicit trade and environmental concerns.
Therefore, the European Commission is conducting a public consultation in order to gather reviews as part of a roadmap open for feedback for 4 weeks. Feedback will be taken into account for further development and fine-tuning of the initiative. The Commission will summarise the input received in a synopsis report explaining how the input will be taken on board and, if applicable, why certain suggestions can't be taken up. Feedback received will be published on this site and therefore must adhere to the feedback rules.
Consultation is open until 5 January 2021 (midnight Brussels time).
The Ukrainian Committee on Public Health, Medical Assistance and Medical Insurance registered in November the Draft Law No. 4358, “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Protection of the Public Health from Harmful Effects of Tobacco”.
This draft law is based on best international practices and corresponds to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Directive 2014/40/EU and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, Goal №3 «Good Health and Well-being». In addition, the draft law will facilitate the implementation of the National noncommunicable diseases plan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The key norms of the draft law are the following:
ban on sale of electronic cigarettes and various tobacco products to young people under 21;
introduction of plain packaging with large pictorial health warnings covering 65% of the pack;
tobacco display ban;
regulation of new tobacco products (IQOS, Glo, e-cigarettes) as ordinary tobacco products;
expanding the list of public places to be 100% smoke-free (dormitories, railway stations, hotels, workplaces);
empowering local governments to introduce additional smoke-free places;
ban on tobacco ads on the Internet.
Therefore, ENSP encourages all its members and partners to sign and send the letter to Ukrainian Parliament representaives in order to support the adoption of the Comprehensive Tobacco Control Bill 4358 in Ukraine.
WCTOH Webinar on Fiscal strategies for financing health services in pandemic times
The 18th WCTOH series of open-access webinars continues on Tuesday 15 December, from 18:00 – 19:00 CET, with a webinar on Fiscal strategies for financing health services in pandemic times.This webinar will present a new summary report card, by the Tobacconomics team, on countries' performance to date, showing not just how they are doing on average tax levels, compared to similar countries, but also whether their tax structures are simple and efficient or complicated and open to manipulation by manufacturers.
The Fifth ICO-WHO Symposium on Tobacco Control to be held ON-LINE the 17th of December 2020 (3:00 – 6:00 pm CET). After the good experience of the previous Symposia, the WHO Collaborating Center for Tobacco Control has prepared this 5th edition “Tobacco endgame in COVID-19 times” together with WHO-EURO. It will count with international tobacco control experts to debate about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for tobacco control policies and the tobacco endgame in the current social and political context.
The Sin Tax and the Tobacco Industry: Italian case
Even though tobacco control experts have criticized the FDA’s decision stating that HTP are different than traditional cigarettes, the tobacco industry benefited from this argument "with remarkable success, depriving governments of hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue", according to Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
In an article dedicated to the implications of the Tobacco Industry in the Sin Tax in Italy, OCCRP explains the differences in opinions regarding heated tobacco products and how big companies from the Tobacco Industry approach different states with questionable evidence and the effects of their actions on the state revenues.
In the middle of the worst public health crisis, Romania is losing money for the construction of five hospitals, just because there is a big gap between the taxation of heated tobacco products compared to traditional cigarettes, according to this report. Estimates show that the state budget lost almost 180 million euros last year due to this issue. The RISE Project has studied the different ways in which corporations interfere with the legislative process, right in the heart of the Parliament.
RISE Project is a community of journalists, programmers and activists investigating organized crime and corruption affecting Romania and the countries in the region.
RISE Project is a part of OCCRP.
Netherlands: a plan to reduce tobacco distribution and sales by 2040
On 20 November, the Dutch government announced a plan to significantly reduce the number of tobacco retail outlets in the country. This policy plan builds upon the Dutch National Prevention Agreement, which was concluded in 2018 and contains a package of measures to realise a Smokefree Generation by 2040.
The plan to reduce the number of tobacco retail outlets is as follows:
2023: ban on online sale of tobacco and related products
2024: ban on sale of tobacco and related products in supermarkets
From 2030 onwards: phasing out sale of tobacco and related products in gas stations and convenience stores, so that eventually the sale is limited to tobacco shops.
In November, the CTFK TakeAPart movement gathered the latest news in a publication focused on the Tobacco Industry Interference. Around the world, tobacco control advocates supported by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are successfully pushing for enforcement of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) policies.
This publication includes inspiring examples of TAPS law enforcement in Bangladesh, Niger, and Romania, as well as highlights and media coverage from the TI on 6 key topics: 1) Policy Interference, 2) Marketing of Tobacco and Nicotine Products, 3) Tobacco Industry Public Relations including Front Groups and Allies, 4) Investor Reporting and Corporate Changes, 5) Litigation and Government Investigations, 6) Pricing - Product Possibility and Affordability.
EKHA is a common effort by stakeholders to propose solutions for the challenges of Chronic Kidney Disease in Europe through effective prevention and a more efficient care pathway intended to facilitate the provision of appropriate and affordable treatment to all Europeans equally, while promoting the highest quality of care.
In their latest publications two topics of high importance are tackled:
The position paper for the Expert Panel on Effective Ways of Investing in Health where it is stressed the heavy toll taken by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read the full paper here...
EKHA article in Friends of Europe: ‘How do health systems meet the challenge of managing chronic diseases during COVID-19 and beyond?’ that illustrates the need to implement more resilient and sustainable approaches to chronic disease prevention, treatment and care. Read the article here...
Tobacco Control Community mourns passing of Dr. Tabaré Vásquez, former Uruguay President
A few days ago, the tobacco control community received tragic news about the passing of the former president of Uruguay, Dr. Tabaré Vázquez, a key person for tobacco control in Uruguay and in the world.
In a press release, the President of CTFK highlights the great achievements of Uruguay under President Vázquez. Uruguay became a global leader in reducing tobacco use and a role model for its implementation of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). Uruguay became the first smoke-free nation in the Americas, implemented graphic health warnings covering 80 percent of the tobacco pack, banned tobacco advertising, significantly increased tobacco taxes, prohibited misleading terms like 'light' and 'low-tar,' limited tobacco brands to single presentations in order to prevent deceptive branding, culminating with concentrated efforts that led to Uruguay becoming the first country in Latin America to require plain packaging for tobacco products.
Dr. Vázquez was a politician who had the vision and the courage to play for public health, to face the Tobacco Industry, and who also listened and worked together with the civil society and other organisations, including ENSP during the 2019 ENSP Conference in Bucharest. The Network expresses our deepest condolences to the family, friends, collegues and the ones close to Dr. Vázquez.