Krebsliga Schweiz

4th European Conference "Tobacco or Health" 2007 in Basel: Tobacco control policy in Europe - 30 countries in comparison

    Basel (ots) - Tobacco or Health. This is not a question but a revelation. Each year, over 5 million people globally die from the consequences of active and passive tobacco consumption - over 650 000 people in the European Union alone. About 8 000 people die per year in Switzerland as a consequence.

    What are the European governments doing to keep the population from smoking and to protect them against passive smoking? Which are the successful strategies? Who is leading by setting a good example and who is lagging behind?

    The answers to these questions are provided in a study: "The tobacco control scale: ranking and comparison of the tobacco control policies of 30 European countries (2005 - 2007)". The study was commissioned by the cancer league of Switzerland for the 4th European "Tobacco or Health" conference 2007 and presented by the Belgian tobacco control expert Luk Joossens at the media conference on Thursday, 11 October 2007.

    Only four countries - Great Britain, Ireland, Iceland and Norway - scored 65 or more points out of 100. Austria, Luxembourg, Greece and Germany were last in the rankings. Compared to 2005, the host country increased its score by 12 points and now ranks in position 18, just inside the lower middle ranks. Tobacco control measures were increased and health warnings and measures to break the habit were improved.

    "In Switzerland, the acceptance of a different approach to tobacco is a given", insists Dr. Thomas Zeltner, director of the Federal Health Department. However due to a National Council decision last week to water down the law on the protection against passive smoking, no improvement is expected to the current situation.

    The limitations on tobacco advertising remain minimal and cigarette prices are cheap compared to other countries. "In Switzerland, cigarettes are easier to obtain than basic foodstuffs", says Thomas Cerny, president of the Swiss cancer league.

    The conference addresses topical questions and enables different countries to share experiences. The topics cover a wide field. They range from the implementation of the WHO framework convention on tobacco control, via passive smoking, product regulation and the influence of the tobacco industry, up to tobacco consumption by women and preventive programs for schools.

    "Unfortunately, the signing and ratification of the framework convention on tobacco control is not sufficient", says Cora Honing, president of the association of European cancer leagues. The implementation of the proposed measures continues to be a major challenge. The 4th European "Tobacco or Health" Conference 2007 is meant to make an important contribution in this respect.

    Find all relevant information (program, fact sheets, media communiqués, photo's, etc.) on the media.ectoh07.org website, available in German, French, Italian and English.

ots Orginaltext: Krebsliga Schweiz Internet: http://www.presseportal.ch

Contact: Silvia Thommen Media spokesperson ECToH 07 Phone:  +41/31/389'93'26 E-Mail: media@ectoh07.org



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