Romania: Unprecedented level of support for tobacco use reduction policies


The Aer Pur Association, Romania, (ENSP Member) conducts several advocacy, advertising and communication actions aiming to reach the objectives of the national campaign “2035 – The First Generation without Tobacco”.

The “2035 without Tobacco” campaign is a national strategy that seeks to reduce tobacco consumption in Romania. Through this campaign, the scope is to generate public policies that regulate how manufacturers of tobacco products advertise their products at points of sale, through promotions and sponsorships, so that children will no longer be exposed to the message.

To better understand public opinion towards the issues addressed by the campaign, Mercury Research has conducted a national quantitative study that aimed to investigate the general public’s perception towards tobacco control policies.

General conclusions

The survey carried out a quantitative assessment of epidemiologic factors in relation with smoking prevalence among the respondents, but focused mainly on smokers’ behaviors, passive smoking considerations, support level for regulatory initiatives in the field of tobacco marketing, as well as opinions on the indoor smoking ban after approximately 7 months of enforcement.

The central conclusion shows an unprecedented level of general support for tobacco use reduction policies (85%) and a level of support that is even higher than prior to the adoption (80%) for the legal ban on indoor smoking (law 15/2016).

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Detailed conclusions

Smokers’ behavior in their private space – Romanian smokers protect their homes of tobacco smoke more than their cars. Three quarters of the smokers avoid smoking in their home. People having completed 8 grades at most smoke more frequently in their homes (40%) than the other smokers. Almost half (54%) of the smokers do not smoke in their cars. This habit can usually be linked to men (51% smoke in their cars) rather than women (only 27%).

Views on passive smoking– Smokers generally agree that exposure to second-hand smoke affects the health of people around them (93%), with children being more impacted than adults (95%). Almost three quarters (74%) of smokers believe that there should be no smoking in parks or near playgrounds. Women are more convinced than men that passive smoking harms the others or that there should be no smoking in parks or near playgrounds.

Marketing of tobacco products- More than half of Romanians (58%) believe that attractive packaging, advertising and promotion of cigarettes generally draw in children and young people. Less than third of the population (30%) thinks that tobacco advertising is necessary.

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Support level for smoke-free initiatives – National smoke-free policies aiming at reducing tobacco use in Romania are approved by the majority of the population (85%). Although there is a higher level of support among non-smokers (91%), almost three quarters of smokers (73%) would agree with such policies. People smoking 10 to 20 cigarettes per day are more likely to support such initiatives. Support for smoke-free policies aiming at reducing tobacco use increases among people aged 56 + and in rural areas. Almost two thirds (62%) of the Romanians would agree with a legal ban on tobacco sales.

Smoking ban in public spaces – A major part (80%) of Romanian population agrees with the law that bans smoking in public spaces. The support level is higher among non-smokers, but almost two thirds of smokers (63%) also do approve it.

The survey data argue for the need to continue implementing policies for reducing tobacco use in Romania and protecting young generations from exposure to an addiction that kills over 42,000 Romanians every year.

As a clear proof of commitment to fighting against the main preventable cause of disease in Romania (tobacco use), in September 2016, the civil society engaged on an ambitious but achievable path: contributing, together with all relevant decision-makers, to the adoption of all policies and measures that would allow for children born as of 2017 to become the first tobacco-free generation. This target is already supported by many European countries and is only achievable through committed and responsible partnership. Over 300 non-governmental organizations from the medical, academic, children’s rights, youth and environmental fields have already joined this initiative.

A National Multi-sector Strategy for preventing and reducing tobacco use, nicotine addiction and second-hand smoke exposure 2017-2035 has been drafted together with national and international experts. The paper has benefited from unanimous support, including from the European Health and Food Safety Commissioner.

The Romanian civil, medical and academic society hopes that this effective partnership with decision-makers will be maintained so that all tobacco control measures for reaching the target of a first generation free from this devastating vice be considered from an evidence-based approach. Public health cannot surrender before economics nor can it be open to negotiation. The goal of protecting the health of present and future generations must be fully acknowledged by all stakeholders.

______________________________________________________________________________________

For additional information:

Ramona Brad

Project Director 2035 – Romania’s First Tobacco-Free Generation

Email: ramona.brad@2035faratutun.ro

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