The Tobacco Control Scale (TCS) quantifies the implementation of tobacco control policy at country level. The scale is based on six policies that should be prioritized in a comprehensive tobacco control program. These six policies are:

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

Points are allocated to each policy, with a maximum potential score of 100. The scale provides a systematic scoring system that can be used by many countries and allows for comparison between them.

In 2010 data were collected in 31 countries (27 EU countries plus Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Turkey.

The five countries (UK, Ireland, Norway, Turkey and Iceland), which lead the ranking in europe, have in common a policy of high prices and the adoption of comprehensive smokefree legislation. Three of them adopted legislation, which bans the display of tobacco products at the point of sale. The UK remains number one and is doing well on all six of the World Bank tobacco control policies.

Turkey was included in the survey for the first time and the surprise was that Turkey is in the top five in the table. Despite a strong tobacco history and high smoking prevalence in men, Turkey successfully introduced comprehensive smoke free legislation. The legislation applies the highest standards (no exceptions, no smoking rooms) and is well respected, according to results of the eurobarometer survey, which took place a few months after its implementation in July 2009.

The results of the tobacco control scale 2010 were presented in La Haye (the Netherlands) on March 23rd 2011, a few days before the start of the fifth European Conference on Tobacco or Health which will be held in Amsterdam from 28th to 30th March 2011.

Click here for the Tobacco Control Ranking Press Release.

Click here to download the publication "Tobacco Control Scale 2010 in Europe".

Click here to download the ranking postcard at a glance.



Progress in Tobacco Control in 30 European Countries 2005-2007

The 2005-2007 report presented at the 4th ECToH (European Conference on Tobacco or Health) in Basel provided the results of a survey of tobacco control activity in 30 European countries in 2007, using the Tobacco Control Scale (TCS), first described in our 2006 paper, The Tobacco Control Scale: a new scale to measure country activity.  A description of how the scale was constructed and the original survey methodology can be found in this paper, and the scale itself is reproduced in Table 1. We here report the results of the 2007 survey, compare them with the results of the 2005 survey, and discuss the changes and reasons for them.  The TCS, which quantifies the implementation of tobacco control policies at country level, is based on six policies described by the World Bank, which they say should be prioritised in a comprehensive tobacco control programme.

The six policies are:

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

ASPECT report: Tobacco or Health in the European Union - past, present and future

Written by a team of health experts under the 'ASPECT' consortium, this important report reviews past, present and future EU policy on tobacco control. In particular, the report makes 43 key recommendations for the future, such as:

(i) ratifying the FCTC as soon as possible
(ii) increasing the investment spent on tobacco control for each citizen
(iii) spreading the 'Irish model' of smokefree workplaces throughout the EU

The full report in English is attached below, while an executive summary is available in all EU official languages on the European Commission website.


ECL and its members have a strong policy of not acception funding from any tobacco companies, be it directly or indirectly.
ECL will always thoroughly investigate to check if there is no indirect financing sources from the above mentioned, before accepting a donation or a sponsorship deal.

For more details, please see document herewith (click on link).

What is standard packaging?


Standard packaging, also known as generic, plain or homogenous packaging, refers to packaging that has had the attractive promotional aspects of tobacco products removed and the appearance of all tobacco packs is standardised including the colour of the pack.

The Australian regulations require:
• No branding other than the product name in a standard font, size and colour
• Prohibition of all other trademarks, logos, colour schemes and graphics

Only the following markings are permitted:
• Standard shape, size and colour for the pack and contents
• Large graphic health warnings front and back
• Qualitative rather than quantitative information on constituents and emissions
• Tax stamps
• Quitline number and web address on all packs
• All packs to be a standard drab dark green/brown colour in matt finish.
(For more information, go to


Relevant Links:

EU Questions and answers: Towards a new EU law on Tobacco Products (Dec 2012)

Event on Plain Packaging at the European Parliament Feb 2012 (including presentations)




Older Resources:

"How does increasingly plainer cigarette packaging influence adult smokers' perceptions about brand image? An experimental study" (Tobacco Control, 2008)

IDRC and Plain Packaging (Canada)

Article:  Plain packets' law to strip cigarettes of their glamour (The Observer, Sept 2008, UK)

"The Case for Plain Packaging" (Tobacco Control, 2005)

Globalink's "Towards Informed Consent: The Case for Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products" (UICC, 1996)



Eurobarometer 458 on tobacco and electronic cigarettes in the EU

The European Commission has published on the eve of World No Tobacco Day a Eurobarometer survey presenting European citizens' attitudes to a range of tobacco-related issues. The general aim of the survey is to assess the prevalence and pattern of tobacco and electronic cigarette use, exposure to smoke in public places, to explore the motivations for smoking, and to help identify measures to reduce the number of smokers in the EU. The recent results are compared to the previous surveys, showing stable use of e-cigarettes (2%) and no decrease in the overall smoking rate in the EU (26%) since 2014.

There are important differences in consumption across the EU with persistently higher rates of smoking in Southern Europe. Over a third of respondents in Greece (37%), Bulgaria (36%), France (36%) and Croatia (35%) are smokers. On the other hand, the proportion of smokers is 7% in Sweden and 17 % in the UK .
Amongst people aged 15 to 24 the rate has increased from 25% in 2014 to 29% in 2017.

Nearly one in ten (9%) have tried electronic cigarettes once or twice but do not use them regularly Very few currently use them, with only 2% of respondents giving this answer. A further 4% used to use them, but no longer do. . Over eight in ten (84%) of those polled say that they have never tried or used electronic cigarettes. There has been little change since the previous survey in responses to this question.

Among those who currently use e-cigarettes, country-level differences are minimal. The highest proportion of respondents who use e-cigarettes is found in the United Kingdom (5%). The situation is similar when it comes to those who used to use them, but have stopped doing so -in France, this concerns nearly one in ten (9%), but elsewhere it is lower.

Source : Special Eurobarometer 458: Attitude of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Publication May 2017, Fieldwork March 2017, 27901 respondents in EU 28.




The European Commission has published a survey on smoking among 26 500 Europeans which took place in 28 countries (EU 27 and Norway) in December 2008.

The full report is available from the European Commission's site and results can be consulted here.

Three out of 10 EU citizens aged 15 and over say they smoke: a quarter (26%) smoke daily and 5% occasionally, 22% of citizens say they have quit smoking. Almost half of EU citizens claim that they have never smoked. The proportion of smokers is the highest in Greece (42%), followed by Bulgaria (39%), Latvia (37%), Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia (all 36%).

The main key messages -

1- Support for smoke-free places:
The survey confirms the overwhelming support that smoke-free policies have in the EU.
A majority of EU citizens support smoke-free public places, such as offices, restaurants and bars. Support for workplace smoking restrictions is slightly higher than support for such restrictions in restaurants (84% vs. 79%). Two-thirds support smoke-free bars, pubs and clubs.

2- Exposure to tobacco smoke:
In 2006, the Special Eurobarometer showed that a third (32%) of respondents was exposed to tobacco smoke at the workplace. Even if there seems to be a trend towards the reduction of exposure to tobacco smoke at the workplace in Europe, in 2008, a fifth (19%) of respondents who work outside the home are still exposed to tobacco smoke at their workplace on a daily basis.

3- Pictorial warnings:
More than half (55%) of EU citizens believe that adding a colour picture to a text-only health warning on a cigarette pack would strengthen the effectiveness of the text-only warning.

Luk Joossens
ECL Tobacco Control Advocacy Officer
March 2009

 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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