ABOUT THE JATC2 PROJECT
Smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption have been considered the single most important cause of preventable morbidity and premature mortality worldwide, with tobacco the major single cause for premature deaths in the European Union (EU).
The World Health Organization estimates that the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. In 2020, 22.3% of the global population used tobacco, 36.7% of all men and 7.8% of the world’s women. Despite some progress in reducing smoking rates over the last decade, among the WHO regions, Europe has the highest prevalence of tobacco smoking among adults (28%) and some of the highest prevalence of tobacco use among adolescents, accounting for about 700.000 deaths per year. Moreover, a third of nonsmoking adults are exposed to SHS worldwide. It is estimated that 40% of children, 33% of male non-smokers and 35% of female non-smokers are exposed to SHS. The fight to protect children, young people and all other persons from the harmful effects of tobacco has never been more crucial and urgent.
“Worldwide, smoking kills 8 million people in the world every year. More than 1.2 million of these deaths were attributed to SHS exposure in 2017, of which over 63,000 deaths were among children younger than 10 years old. In 2019, tobacco smoking accounted for 200 million disability-adjusted life years worldwide, while in Europe, the burden of disease related to SHS exposure ranged from 600 to 1.200 disability-adjusted life years.”
The economic costs of tobacco use are substantial and include significant health care costs for treating the diseases caused by tobacco use as well as the lost human capital that results from tobacco-attributable morbidity and mortality. Although often associated with ill-health, disability and death from noncommunicable chronic diseases, tobacco smoking is also associated with an increased risk of death from communicable diseases.
According to Eurostat
Smoking Prevalence in Europe
of the Overall Population
of Young Europeans aged 15-24
The time for a Eurocentric intervention against the increase of tobacco consumption is now. Several EU Member States have implemented legislative measures at a national level to restrict and regulate the sale of tobacco products, including taxation on cigarette products. However, tobacco manufactures evade newer regulations by exploiting policy gaps in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and Tobacco Advertising Directive (TAD). The tobacco industry’s ability to evade and exploit legislative loopholes is a monumental strain on the Member States’ ability to protect the public health of all its persons. It also impedes the Member States’ ability to fulfill the commitments set out in article 4.1 in WHOs Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). It is time to re-strategize and develop a collective approach to improve the implementation of the TPD and develop endgame strategies. The need for readjusted strategies is further emphasized by the threat of the covid-19 crisis. The unprecedented scale of shutdowns of schools, industry and workplaces due to covid-19 have meant that more EU citizens have been at risk of exposure to smoking and second hand smoking in their home environment.
Recent years have seen the emergence of other tobacco-related products than the traditional tobacco products. These tobacco-related products have unwanted serious and adverse effects. Not only e-cigarettes, but also various forms of chewing tobacco and chewing bags, which do not necessarily containing tobacco, have flooded the market since 2016. While the consumption of tobacco and related products are directly linked to health issues, the exposure to aggressive advertising of such products can be the indirect link to start a lifelong addiction to such products. Alongside the emergence of new tobacco-related products, new methods of advertisement for such products have also come to light. It is therefore necessary with a total overview of the regulation of advertising of tobacco to cope with the exposure from advertising activities from the Tobacco Industry.
Efforts to reduce the devastation of tobacco-related deaths and illness in the EU consist of legislation, such as the TPD and the ongoing implementation of the WHO FCTC. The TPD (2014/40/EU) entered into force 19 May 2014 and became applicable in the EU Member States (EU MS) 20 May 2016. The TPD lays down rules governing the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products.
Worldwide efforts in the area of tobacco control is over-all laid down in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The Convention entered into force 27 February 2005. 90 days after it was ratified and approved by 40 States across the world. The FCTC lays down rules on international law regarding prices, tax measures, protection from second-hand smoking, packaging and labeling of tobacco products, tobacco advertising etc.
Efforts to reduce the exposure to tobacco advertising in the EU consist primarily of regulation laid down in the TAD and the FCTC. The TAD (2003/33/EC) entered into force in 2003 and became applicable in the EU MS 31 July 2005. The TAD outlines the rules governing advertising and sponsorships of tobacco products.
One key aspect of the TPD is the development of an EU common reporting format for submission of data on ingredients contained in tobacco and related products and disclosure of the collected data to the public. Joint Action on Tobacco Control (JATC) has addressed and solved the issue of sharing data from the EU-CEG database. To gain even further benefits from the data in the EU-CEG, it is important to leverage the possibility of data sharing further and to enhance the user experience of EU-CEG.
A more harmonized approach to enforcement and market surveillance of the TPD is of utmost importance for a unified protection of the consumers of these products. Since the TPD is a directive with only the requirement of minimum implementation, it is crucial that EU Member States cooperate closely in order to enforce the requirements of the TPD and to protect consumers and ensure a fair internal market for these products. Today, many consumers engage in cross-border distance buying of tobacco and related products because the requirements in the TPD are not consistently applied across Europe. This does not only effect the fairness of the internal market, but also enhances the risk of consumers being exposed to non-compliant and even dangerous products.
An analysis and assessment of the TAD is an important step in determining the application of the regulation on tobacco advertisement across the EU. As the market for tobacco and related products has evolved over time, so has the creativity of direct and indirect marketing of tobacco products. It is therefore of great importance to track how the TAD is applied across Europe and to assess whether regulations on this subject are still up-to-date, relevant and adequate.
In order to prevent tobacco-related illness and premature death, it is crucial for countries across Europe to unite on regulatory frameworks for smoke-free environments and sustainable tobacco endgame strategies.
The Joint Action on Tobacco Control 2 (JATC 2) programme is a flagship initiative of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. It is a key component to ensure a renewed Eurocentric commitment towards a tobacco free Europe.
The JATC 2 programme is committed to supporting the goals of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan through the project’s deliverables and milestones. Even though many countries in Europe are adopting new legislation on extensions of smokefree environments, an even more harmonized and unified approach to forward-looking strategies on this will lead to less exposure to second-hand smoking, most importantly for children and young people. Furthermore, in the fight for creating and moving towards a smoke-free generation, sustainable tobacco endgame strategies should be developed aggressively. For such strategies to be a success, an over-all commitment across Europe should be ensured.
As more and more countries step up the game in tobacco control and prevention against tobacco related cancer, a unified Europe is more important than ever. The commitment is also showed in the approaching new Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan where EU Member States stand together in the fight against tobacco. We, the partners of JATC 2, are committed to championing this fight. It is of the utmost importance that the recommendations and policy suggestions of this Joint Action are followed to achieve the successful development of this Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan. A unified approach is the best way forward.
- To ensure coordination and evaluation.
- To support the dissemination of information to the target groups.
- To integrate the results of JATC-2 into national health and tobacco policies.
- To facilitate the exchange of good practices between Member States in order to improve implementation of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and related implementing and delegated acts in a number of areas of tobacco product and e-cigarette regulation, including laboratory capacity, analysis and assessment.
- To ensure greater consistency in the application of the TPD to ensure a fair internal market for tobacco and related products, especially regarding market surveillance and enforcement.
- To promote activities consistent with the objectives of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
- To identify and assess the current legislation regarding, but not exclusively tobacco advertising and advertising of emerging products.
- To identify and develop best practices regarding tobacco endgame strategies and for smoke-free environments.
As more and more countries step up in the game of tobacco control and prevention against tobacco related cancer, a unified Europe is more important than ever. The commitment is also showed in the approaching new EU Cancer Action Plan, where EU MS will stand together in the fight against tobacco. We, the partners of the JATC-2, are committed to championing this fight.
The participants are 21 countries with 36 scientific and governmental institutions, of which 21 are competent authorities and 15 are affiliated entities.
JATC-2 aims to reach a variety of target groups to disseminate the outcomes and communication activities associated with the action:
EU Member States Regulators
This is the primary target group of the JATC 2, due to the nature of the domain and the relevance and expertise Member States Regulators have within the topics covered by the Joint Action. These are the main entities that would benefit mostly from the JATC 2, as the actions and tasks to be undertaken address the aspects of the Tobacco Products Directive, the Tobacco Advertising Directive, and the Framework of Tobacco Control, etc. In order to ensure a more harmonized approach to market surveillance and enforcement of the regulation surrounding tobacco control, it is important that Member Stages Regulators establish and adopt a common approach to a regulatory framework. It is therefore crucial that the EU Member States Regulators are involved and engaged as early as possible at all points of the JATC 2 process from commencement through to dissemination.
The wider aims of the JATC programme are to facilitate and aid the comprehensive, regulatory framework that, when applied uniform, will see health gains across countries, through a multifaceted approach addressing the complexity of issues including product characteristics and emissions, exposure, injury, disease risk, claims and research and surveillance.
It is important to note that the participating collaborates in the JATC programme are by majority either EU or EEA countries regulators or relevant competent authorities across the EU and hence their engagement would be both feasible, beneficial and measurable. We anticipate that all 27 EU Member States’ competent authorities and those from the three participating EEA countries would benefit directly from the outcome of JATC 2.
Tobacco Control non-governmental organizations
This secondary group would benefit from these outcomes and achievements. Tobacco control stakeholders will derive benefit from the dissemination of information that would be released concerning tobacco endgame strategies, strategies for a more harmonized approach in enforcement of tobacco related legislation and data sharing.
This target group will be reached through interactions at both the dissemination level (WP2) and the “networking and sustainability level” (WP3). The JATC 2 programme aims to involve a broad variety of tobacco control stakeholders that are active within Europe.
Stakeholder networks with broad outreach across the European region and that have close collaborations with national stakeholders, such as the European Network on Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) will be contacted to increase stakeholder involvement and to legitimize the work of the JATC 2 programme.
This target group consists of research institutions that work within the field of development and research of public health related issues. These research institutions will also benefit greatly, from the dissemination of knowledge that will be produced as outcomes of the JATC 2 programme, especially when it comes to strategies for ending tobacco use in Europe.
These efforts will compound to address the fight against tobacco related cancer diseases. Furthermore, research institutions working with tobacco research will highly benefit from the outcomes from the JATC 2 programme especially from the assessment on the TAD and its current state of applicability for policies on tobacco advertising.
This target group is the raison d’être for the JATC 2 programme. The target group consists of every citizen of the European Region. Tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of death and cause of chronical diseases, such as tobacco related cancer within Europe and therefore the general European public will benefit from the implementation of JATC 2.
The Joint Action will support a continued successful implementation of the TPD across the EU but also addresses issues that would ensure a high level of public health through the appropriate regulation of tobacco products. Furthermore, the Joint Action will work on enforcing the regulations set down in the Tobacco Advertising Directive, hence diminishing the exposure of tobacco related adds to the public.
This will indirectly influence the 508 million people (smokers and non-smokers) covered by the legislative articles of the TPD and TAD.
The Tobacco Industry
JATC 2 is fully committed to Art. 5.3. of the FCTC and will protect the policies and recommendations developed in the programme from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.
However, it should be noted that the tobacco industry is the aim of the regulation surrounding tobacco control and if one would like a higher compliance with the applicable legislation, it is crucial that this is communicated in a clear way to the tobacco stakeholders as well.
This will be addressed by the dissemination done in WP 2 and the competent authorities of the Member States should deal with further communication strongly bearing in mind art. 5.3.
Policymakers and EU regulators are the main target groups followed by researchers and the public. The increased regulatory vigilance on tobacco product evolution and developments in advertising will protect European Public Health through the increased awareness of product related data, together with a more harmonized approach to market surveillance and enforcement of the applicable rules. This increased domain specific literacy will aid regulatory activities and set standards for a common interpretation of the applicable rules. It will enhance cooperation between EU Member States.
The expected outcomes of this project, which benefit the main target groups, include the following:
A more user-friendly interface of the EU-CEG database, which will enhance the utility of the database for EU regulators.
A sustainable plan for data sharing from the EU-CEG database, which will make valuable data available for a broader audience, especially researchers.
A harmonized approach to market surveillance and enforcement of the TPD, which will enhance consumer protection and ensure a fair internal market.
A recommendation to update the applicable rules on tobacco advertising, which will mean less exposure to unwanted commercial activities and hopefully diminish the number of new smokers and even decrease the prevalence of smoking.
A harmonized approach to establishing smoke-free environments, which will decrease the exposure to second-hand smoking.
A forward-looking tobacco endgame strategy leading to a smoke-free generation and decreasing the number of tobacco-related illnesses and deaths.