The Joint Action on Tobacco Control (JATC2) aims to strengthen cooperation between the interested Member States and the Commission in the area of tobacco control and to provide support for the implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and the Tobacco Advertising Directive (TAD).
The general objective of this project is not only to support the implementation of the TPD and the TAD but also to promote activities consistent with the objectives of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
The JATC1 contributed to the implementation of the TPD in specific areas of laboratory capacity, testing methods for tobacco and related products, regulation of ingredients and developed data sharing agreements concerning the excessive amounts of data within EU-CEG. JATC 2 programme build on the results of the JATC1 and adds new pillars to the work within tobacco control in Europe.
The JATC2 project operates with 9 Work Packages and involves 21 countries with 36 scientific and governmental institutions, of which 21 are competent authorities, and 15 are affiliated entities.
The Annual Consortium meeting of the Joint Action on Tobacco Control (JATC2)
The JATC2 Annual Consortium Meeting took place in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 7th-8th of November 2022. During the meeting, participants from all over Europe, including representatives from the European Commission (DG SANTE and HADEA) had the chance to meet in person and commence a very productive collaboration in light of the upcoming demanding project’s tasks. The Work Package leaders presented their 3-year action plan and shared ideas and valuable experience on how to best serve the project’s aims.
WPs Progress and Outcomes
WP1 - Coordination
It is been an interesting year for WP1. The Coordination team has undergone several staff changes. This has naturally had a certain degree of impact on the management of the project. However, despite the many changes, WP1 is delighted to report that the project is running almost according to plan with its deliverables and milestones. The project proposal has been subject to amendments through the first year of the project. And a current amendment is also underway. The JATC2 Coordination team is working towards having the amendment completed by the beginning of 2023.
The Coordination team hosted the annual consortium meeting this year. WP1 devoted a lot of effort planning the two-day annual consortium meeting in Copenhagen in November 2022. The event was attended by 75 participants from 18 different countries, including the interest organisations ENSP and ASH. Over the course of those two days, the participants were able to network, share updates on work package progress, coordinate necessary work package activities and debate tobacco policy. The next consortium meeting will take place in Madrid during the European Conference on Tobacco or Health (ECToH) in April. The coordination team is currently focused on planning of the annual consortium meeting for 2023.
In light of the work performed and close collaborations that were enhance, WP1 would also like to take a moment to appreciate all the hard and dedicated work performed by the JATC2 partners.
WP2 – Dissemination of the JATC2 project
WP2, led by the National Public Health Organisation (NPHO) of Greece, is the horizontal WP responsible for the dissemination and communication actions of the project. Its aim is to maximise the impact of JATC2 by supporting the consultation with stakeholders and the dissemination of the project’s results to the target audiences. To reach this goal, a number of activities have commenced. To support the continuation of the visual identity of the project within the context of D2.1, the project logo was slightly adapted, while the JATC1 project website was updated to encase both JATC1 and JATC2 activities – ensuring continuity. The JATC2 leaflet in digital format was also created. Furthermore, the JATC2 social media accounts provide a platform for sharing the progress of all the work packages. They are also a way to create opportunities for further communication between the stakeholders identified in D2.2 (Stakeholder analysis) and to inform the audience about the joint action’s activities as outlined in the dissemination plan (D2.3).
In light of maximising the outreach to the community, peers, public and policymakers, WP2 will continue to support the other WPs in the dissemination of project results, facilitating conference presentations and the second annual meeting (M2.2), supporting online and social media presence and facilitating manuscript submission – an update will be provided shortly within the context of the next deliverable (D2.4. Project Dissemination Activity Report 1).
WP3 – Evaluation of the JATC2 project
The evaluation of the JATC2 is undertaken by WP3, and is therefore an internal evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to support the project coordinator, WP leaders and all project staff with all aspects of project implementation, output production and the achievement of outcomes in terms of utilisation of outputs. The evaluation aims at: optimising the implementation of project activities with a special focus on the communication and cooperation within and among WPs; monitoring the timeliness and quality of project outputs; and assessing if the outcomes of the JATC 2 meet the needs of the project´s target group regarding their utility. To this extent, the evaluation questions have been divided into two categories: the process evaluation and the outcome evaluation.
The current focus of the evaluation is on the internal project activities, therefore the process evaluation: The baseline survey on project members’ expectations was conducted in May 2022, and a report was produced. The first round of feedback meetings with WP members was held in Winter 2022/23. Furthermore, the second online questionnaire on the satisfaction of project staff is being prepared for the first quarter of 2023. Additionally, an online suggestion box has been set up, to provide JATC2 members with the opportunity to give anonymous feedback. The monitoring of outputs is a continuous task throughout the whole project period.
The outcome evaluation will start in 2023, when the first outcomes of the JATC2 have started to unfold an can be assessed regarding their utility and usability for the intended target group.
The instruments for WP3 data collection (M3.1), the communication and reporting plan (M3.2), the evaluation indicators (M3.3) as well as the Evaluation Plan (D3.1) have been submitted. Upcoming outputs are the Interim Evaluation Report (D3.2) and the communication of the findings of the first reporting period (M3.4).
WP4 - Sustainability and Cooperation across Europe
The main objective of WP4 is to sustain JATC2 activities and have the project make an impact. To reach this objective several actions are undertaken throughout the duration of the project.
Coherently with Objective 4.1, which is to “organise webinars to promote collaboration with other EU MS and international bodies and organisations involved in tobacco control and regulatory policy”, led by HSE (Ireland), 5 webinars have been planned for the 2022-2024 period, two of which have already been completed. The first one, “Strengthening tobacco control in Europe”, was held on the 22nd of September 2022, while the second one, in close collaboration with WP8, was held on the 22nd of November 2022 on “Second-hand smoke and aerosols exposure in Europe”.
Two interesting webinars are planned in 2023 on the following topics: “Tobacco endgame” (in collaboration with WP9) and “Novel tobacco and nicotine products”. While the planned 2024 webinar will be about “Sustainability of JATC2 activities and possible contribution to Europe’s beating cancer plan”.
Within Objective 4.2 “To facilitate the exchange of knowledge and to identify best practices related to the TPD and TAD, through the preparation of guidance documents and a core module for a questionnaire to identify potential best practices”, led by ISS, Italy, three Guidance documents have been finalised:
- How to identify best practices on tobacco control in Europe. This guidance provides a general overview of European and International best practices resources and the European criteria for the assessment of a potential best practice and related scoring.
- Questionnaire Core module to identify potential best practices (led by THL-Finland). This core module guidance provides a common basis of questions to be adjusted for WP8 and WP9-specific questionnaires (smoke-free environments and tobacco endgame strategies) to identify relevant policies and best practices in relation to tobacco endgame strategies, smoke-free environments, TPD and TAD in MS.
- Good Practice Statements for the treatment of nicotine dependence. This guidance is a joint document by Work Package 4 (Task 4.2a) and Work Package 9 – Best practices to develop an effective and comprehensive tobacco endgame strategy (Task 9.1b).
Another upcoming activity will be to organise a CircaBC JATC2 Interest Group to include members from enforcement agencies, while in the near future, other guidance documents will follow.
WP5 - EU-CEG data and enhanced laboratory capacity for regulatory purposes
The general objective of WP5 is to strengthen and support the EU Member States’ national competent authorities (NCAs) capacities to use information submitted by manufacturers on their products through the European Common Entry Gate (EU-CEG data) and enforce the applicable standards through the efficient utilisation of scarce expertise and technical resources at the EU level by avoiding duplication and wide implementation of best practices.
As EU-CEG data are a unique tool for product monitoring and assessment, intense activities are underway, that would lead to the enhancement of its utility and the user experience for its use within routine regulatory activities. Hence, in this WP of the JATC2 project, we will help the NCAs to handle their own EU-CEG data better at the national scale, starting from their needs in terms of data analysis applied to a better enforcement of the TPD. In addition to the above WP5 will also facilitate increased technical, analytical and laboratory capacities to support, in particular compliance enforcement and assessment.
WP6 - Enforcement of tobacco product regulation
One of the first steps of WP6 was the creation of a list of all authorities within the field of tobacco regulation (D6.1) and a roadmap for active knowledge sharing. To date, version 1 of the roadmap has been completed and has been circulated to JATC2 partners. This roadmap will be dynamic, and WP6 will ongoingly collect feedback on the roadmap and adjust accordingly.
Another key activity performed by WP6 to date was the assessment of an archive for storing information on tobacco enforcement. A requirements survey has been conducted, and a list of potential (existing) EU systems have been identified. These include Health Policy Platform, CIRCABC, Zenodo and Joinup. WP6 is currently in the process of analysing each system, comparing the requirements collected against the capabilities of each system. The analysis is ongoing and will result in a recommendation to the group in early 2023. With the group’s approval, WP6 will proceed with implementing the knowledge-sharing platform and opening it up to the JATC2 members. In the near future of the project, WP6 will also perform an analysis of the viability of using existing platforms as a knowledge database after the completion of JATC2 Moreover, it is important to note that under D6.5, WP6 will continue to host yearly knowledge hub meetings – the first two were hosted in March and November 2022, respectively.
WP7 - Health impact and regulatory implications of e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products
WP 7 is making good progress in the different tasks. In November, WP7 published its first deliverable (D7.1), which provides information about the regulation of novel tobacco products and e-cigarettes in different EU Member States (MS). In particular, it describes how MS implement specific measures of the Tobacco Products Directive and what additional legislation is in place. Partners of WP 7 are processing tobacco and e-cigarette product data submitted by manufacturers to the European
Common Entry Gate (EU-CEG) in order to obtain an overview of the products submitted and to evaluate their potential health effects.
An approach was established to evaluate awareness, use and perceptions regarding e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTP) using scientific literature. Further, a questionnaire was set out to investigate if, where and/or how information about adverse events related to e-cigarette or novel (tobacco) product use is collected in the different MS. This information will be used to draft recommendations for a harmonised approach.
WP8 - Smoke-free environments and tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) legislation in Europe
Within the framework of the JATC2, the Tobacco Control Unit of the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) is leading work package 8 (WP8), which focuses on smoke and aerosol-free environments (SAFE) and on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) legislation in Europe.
On the 7th and 8th of November, senior researcher Dr. Dolors Carnicer-Pont (MD, MPH, PhD) and project manager Anna Mar López (BSc, MSc) from ICO-IDIBELL, participated in the Annual Consortium Meeting in Copenhagen. They presented the preliminary results and the progress of a consultation carried out to experts from various countries of the European Union on facilitators, barriers, and best practices for the expansion of SAFE. The analysis is still on going and will lead to a scientific symposium and a web-based repository. The final products will be a weight of evidence paper on support of the expansion of SAFE and a position paper on SAFE best practices.
WP8 coordinators also briefly introduced the working plan for the tasks related to reviewing the legislation on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in Europe, which will be conducted by doing a consultation to experts on TAPS loopholes and best practices. The final deliverable will be a position paper to inform evidence for the review of the Tobacco Advertising Directive.
A total of 15 institutions participate in WP8 from Croatia (CIPH), Greece (NPHO), Hungary (OKPI), Slovenia (NIJZ), Serbia (IPHS), Norway (Hdir, NIPH), Italy (IRFMN, ISPRO), Lithuania (NTAKD), as well as from Spain (ICO-IDIBELL, UIC, CNPT, XQNS, NoFumadores.org). ICO, in addition to leading WP8, is also the national coordinator of 4 affiliated entities (IDIBELL; International University of Catalonia; National Center for Tobacco Prevention; Basque-Navarre Society for the Prevention of Smoking) and 2 collaborating entities (Ministry of Health and NGO NoFumadores.org).
WP9 - Best practices to develop an effective and comprehensive tobacco endgame strategy
In WP9, which addresses best practices to develop an effective and comprehensive tobacco endgame strategy, the work began by organising a workshop as an online pre-COP9 event in November 2021. In the workshop, with opening remarks from the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases and DG SANTE, the WP9 partners presented different country case studies. The needed actions and potential challenges in tobacco endgame were then discussed with regulators, civil society and researchers. Insights from the workshop were utilized in developing a tobacco endgame framework for the WP9 to guide the work throughout the project.
Under the different tasks of the WP9, partners have been working actively to select and develop criteria and measures to be used in the assessment of current status of tobacco control, as well as the adoption of tobacco endgame goals and measures in Europe. A questionnaire has been distributed, and the data analysis is ongoing. Further, partners have also planned interviews to be conducted in countries that have different tobacco control contexts. Data are also being collected to be utilised in a literature review that addresses the evidence-base for tobacco endgame measures. Close collaboration has taken place with WP4 and WP8 in developing the core module for the assessment of potential best practices and with WP4 in developing a joint guidance document on cessation. Information exchange and collaboration with external stakeholders to assess potential synergies has taken place by inviting thematic presentations to partner meetings and by presenting WP9 work in international meetings or webinars.
JATC 2 - Upcoming Events
It is a pleasure to announce that, in parallel to the 9th European Conference on Tobacco or Health (ECToH) in Madrid, from 26th to 28th April 2023, JATC2 project, with the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), acting as coordinator of WP8, is organising a symposium to discuss and explore practices to improve Smoke and Aerosol Free Environments (SAFE) in Europe. Within this event, WP8 will present a selection of Practices that were reported in a previously conducted consultation to experts and Member States representatives that explored barriers, opportunities and best practices on SAFE.
The event will be held in Madrid (Spain) on Tuesday, 25th April 2023. The location will be the headquarters of the Spanish Association against Cancer (AECC): C/ Teniente Coronel Noreña, 30, 28045 – Madrid, Spain.
Registration and attendance are free.
Please register here before April 17th 2023: https://forms.office.com/e/2QWwv7abZV