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Envisioning a Tobacco-Free Generation – A Call to Action

In honour of World No Tobacco Day, and on behalf of the Joint Action on Tobacco Control 2 (JATC- 2) partners, we eagerly await the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive and the updated Council Recommendation for Smoke-Free Environments. We strongly encourage the Commission to accelerate the revision process.

Tobacco consumption continues to be the leading cause of preventable cancer, with 27% of all cancers attributed to tobacco use. By eliminating tobacco use, nine out of every ten cases of lung cancer could be avoided. Not to mention the myriad of other health issues such as heart disease, respiratory problems and risk of addiction etc. These statistics underscore the urgency of achieving the EU’s Tobacco-Free Generation goal – less than 5% of tobacco use by 2040 – and reinforce the critical need for decisive action1.

However, conventional tobacco use alone is not the only major health threat our Member States face, especially in the light of the theme of the current World No Tobacco Day: Protecting children from tobacco industry interference. We are seeing concerning trends among adolescents and young adults’ use of novel nicotine and tobacco products such as heated tobacco, disposable e-cigarettesand nicotine pouches. New harmful products are rapidly being introduced to the European market and the increased rate of product circulation makes it difficult for Member States to monitor the products and regulate them.

It is therefore crucial for countries across Europe to unite on developing regulatory frameworks in a forward-looking and sustainable way, and to protect these frameworks from industry interference in line with the Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC. Within the scope of JATC-2 we have worked on strengthening the cooperation between the Member States and the European Commission in the area of tobaccocontrol. JATC-2 partners have focused on tobacco enforcement and supporting the implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive, the Tobacco Advertising Directive and developing a common ground for strategies on Smoke-Free Environments and Tobacco Endgame strategies.

However, we recognise that Member States can only do so much on their own. New EU legislation is necessary to make substantial strides towards a Tobacco-Free Generation. A review of the complete legal framework for tobacco control is a prerequisite for combating tobacco and nicotine control challenges that Member States are still facing. By harnessing the insights from JATC-2’s work, we can pave the way for a future where every individual can lead a Tobacco and Nicotine-Free life and exercise their fundamental human rightsand the rights of the child to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health.

In closing, we extend a heartfelt invitation to the Commission and all interested stakeholders to join us in the mission of achieving a Tobacco-Free Generation. To learn more about JATC-2 and our recommendations for a Tobacco-Free Generation please see: wwws.jaotc.eu.

Let us continue to collaborate in the field of tobacco control to achieve the ambitious goal of a Tobacco-Free generation and help protect the health of all EU citizen

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