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Smoke-free environment without exceptions
Basel (ots) - At the closing of the 4th European "Tobacco or Health" conference 2007 in Basel today, more than 500 experts from 62 countries requested effective protection against passive smoking.
Smoke-free indoor areas which are accessible to the public can easily be introduced without the need of reserving special smoking areas. Even smokers generally agree on this. This is what former Norwegian health minister, Dagfinn Høybråten, declared at the conference in Basel.
If, however, laws for smoke-free environments make provision for exceptions, such laws are difficult to enforce and require considerable bureaucratic effort, said Høybråten, referring to their experience in Norway. In Norway all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, have been smoke-free since June 2004 and smoking areas are not available.
Another central point of discussion at the conference was the difference between the effects of tobacco consumption on male and female smokers. Female smokers react more strongly to nicotine and the components in tobacco smoke cause comparatively greater damage in the bodies of women than in men. These gender-specific differences should be taken into account more carefully in tobacco research and prevention programs in the future.
With reference to the debate on smoke-free tobacco products, the experts agreed on two points: firstly, clear regulatory arrangements are essential to ensure that smoke-free tobacco products contain the least possible noxious substances. Secondly, we must prevent that even more people become addicted to nicotine if smoke-free tobacco products were to be admitted on the European market as well.
Smoke-free tobacco products are completely inappropriate for smoking cessation. Medically tested nicotine-containing medicines are available for this purpose. The experts on tobacco prevention also agreed that each personal situation is relevant in successfully stopping to smoke. In this context, age and nicotine addiction, as well as cases of possible depression are important factors in quitting smoking.
In the resolution on the 4th European "Tobacco or Health" conference 2007, the experts from five continents demanded, apart from effective protection against passive smoking, consistent increases in tobacco taxes. The international conference was organized by the Swiss Cancer League in cooperation with the German Cancer Society and was commissioned by the European Cancer League.
Please find all relevant information (program, fact sheets, press releases, photos etc.) on the official website media.ectoh07.org in German, French, Italian and English.
ots Originaltext: Krebsliga Schweiz
Media spokesperson ECToH 07