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Embargoed until 10:00 Istanbul (09:00 CET) 27 March 2014


Only four leaders in Tobacco Control among 34 European Countries in 2013

Countries with comprehensive tobacco control policies are leading tobacco control in Europe.

Istanbul - Turkey, March, 27, 2014: The United Kingdom takes the lead third year in a row with the most comprehensive tobacco control measures in Europe, according to the latest Tobacco Control scale.  The new ranking is being presented today at the 6th European Conference on Tobacco or Health ( Istanbul by Luk Joossens, Advocacy Officer at theAssociation of European Cancer Leagues.  Four countries are clear leaders; others must do better.  Newcomer Ukraine surprises in top ten.

The report of the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL) describes the results of a survey of tobacco control activity in 34 European countries in 2013, using the Tobacco Control Scale (TCS).  Countries were judged according to a scale of measures considered to be essential components of a comprehensive tobacco control program.

The following six policy measures were described by the World Bank:

  1. price increases through higher taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products;
  2. bans/restrictions on smoking in public and work places;
  3. better consumer information, including public information campaigns, media coverage, and publicising research findings;
  4. comprehensive bans on the advertising and promotion of all tobacco products, logos and brand names;
  5. large, direct health warning labels on cigarette boxes and other tobacco products; and
  6. treatment to help dependent smokers stop, including increased access to medications.

Four countries (United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland, Norway) with over 60 points lead the rankings, with a gap of four points to the next group, six countries that are doing well with scores in the 50s (Turkey, France, Malta, Spain, Finland, Ukraine), although even these ten have plenty of room for improvement. These ten countries have in common high prices, comprehensive smoke free legislation, comprehensive advertising bans and, with the exception of Finland, pictorial health warnings.

Eight countries have display ban legislation (compared to just three in 2010) and 15 countries have pictorial health warnings on tobacco products (six in 2010).

Ukraine, Croatia and Serbia were included in our survey for the first time and the surprise was that Ukraine goes straight into the top ten in the table, better than Sweden, Hungary, the Netherlands and Belgium. Overall, countries which failed to undertake new initiatives lost points and fell in the ranking. Countries with comprehensive tobacco control policies are leading tobacco control in Europe.

The results are disappointing, according to Luk Joossens and Martin Raw, the authors of this 5th Tobacco Control Scale report. “Were this an exam with 51% needed to pass, the 24 countries, almost 71% of the field, failed the exam – very disappointing. Their end-of-term report would undoubtedly say: “Must do better.” They urgently need to improve their tobacco control score in the next few years.”




Contact: Luk Joossens, Tobacco Control Advocacy Officer ECL / Foundation Against Cancer, Belgium.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or tobaccocontrolThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 The Association of European Cancer Leagues implements activities which receive financial support from the European Commission under an Operating Grant from the European Union's Health Programme (2014-2020). The views expressed on our website and reports do not necessarily reflect the official views of the EU institutions.
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