European Union Elections: Time to stand for a Tobacco and Nicotine Free EU


Open letter to the European Parliament candidates from all 27 EU Member States

As we stand on the threshold of yet another pivotal moment in our shared history, the European Elections beckon us to participate actively in shaping the course of our collective future. This key moment offers us the opportunity to voice our aspirations, concerns, and dreams for a better tomorrow.  Our participation in the voting process is not only a privilege but also a solemn responsibility—one that empowers us to shape policies, elect representatives, and uphold our commitment to the principles of freedom, justice, and equality upon which the European Union was founded. 

Despite decades of awareness campaigns and regulatory measures, tobacco remains a persistent danger, claiming millions of lives and burdening healthcare systems across the EU. As we embark on this electoral journey, let us not forget the grave toll of tobacco-related illnesses on our communities and the urgent need to prioritize public health on the political agenda. Our collective action today can pave the way for a tobacco-free tomorrow, where every citizen enjoys the right to a healthy, tobacco-free generation. 

As the European elections draw near, we, A Non Smoking Generation, alongside the ENSP, are compelled to address a pressing issue regarding the proliferation of new nicotine products across the continent. Therefore, we are launching an information campaign targeting all EU citizens, while simultaneously demanding all candidates to the European Parliament elections to pledge swift and adequate measures to protect the next generation from harmful nicotine addiction.


Prioritizing Tobacco Control in the European Parliament Elections

Youth are particularly vulnerable to the industry’s tactics, which include aggressive marketing campaigns targeting adolescents and the promotion of flavored products. Additionally, emerging products like nicotine pouches pose new challenges to regulation. While the EU has made strides in tobacco control, gaps remain in regulating advertising, promotion, and emerging products. It is our duty to fill the legislative gaps concerning the promotion of these new products and to protect the interest of future generations.

 

In 2021, the European Union introduced Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan with the ambitious objective of cultivating a tobacco-free generation in Europe by 2040, striving for a tobacco usage rate of less than 5%. To realize this vision, the EU outlined policies targeting various facets of tobacco control, including taxation, cross-border sales, packaging regulations, flavor restrictions, and online marketing.

However, the revision and adoption of numerous tobacco control measures was not executed and the update of the implementation roadmap did not provide information of the next steps.

Despite efforts to control tobacco, the industry continues to perpetuate addiction, disease, and environmental harm.


Key areas where EU leadership can have a transformative impact

  1. Strengthening Tobacco Regulations: Advocate for the implementation and enforcement of comprehensive tobacco control policies, including bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, as well as measures to restrict tobacco product packaging and labeling.
  2. Supporting Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Programs: Allocate resources towards the development and implementation of evidence-based smoking prevention and cessation initiatives, with a focus on reaching vulnerable populations and supporting those who wish to quit smoking.
  3. Protecting Youth: Champion efforts to prevent youth initiation of tobacco use by implementing measures such as raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products, restricting access to flavored tobacco products, and implementing strict regulations on tobacco sales near schools and youth-friendly environments.
  4. Addressing Cross-Border Challenges: Work collaboratively with other European Union member states to address cross-border issues related to tobacco control, including the illicit trade of tobacco products and the harmonization of tobacco control policies across borders.
  5. Promoting Public Health: Advocate for policies and initiatives that prioritize public health over the interests of the tobacco industry, including measures to counter industry interference in tobacco control efforts and promote transparency in policymaking processes.

Join the efforts to promote tobacco control at the EU level 

We are calling all ENSP members to take part in the collective effort to urge all candidates to the European Parliament elections to prioritize tobacco control at the EU level. You are kindly invited to use any of the letters provided above and/or adapt and translate them according to your national context and send to all your national candidates.

In addition, we have compiled a selection of graphic materials and captions to be published alongside. You are invited and encouraged to share one or several of them, together with the campaign hashtag #TobaccoFreeEU.

When publishing, use as well the hashtag #EUElections2024 and tag the EU Parliament, EU Commission, as well as A Non Smoking Generation and ENSP on social media and if you wish to amplify the message, feel free to also tag your country’s political parties.

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