On 19 March the European Commission, DG Health and Consumer Protection (DG Sanco), held a consultation meeting to support the Commission’s Impact Assessment on the forthcoming initiative on smoke-free environments.
The goal of the meeting was to have an open discussion and get the comments of the civil society on the likely health, social and economic impacts of various policy options at EU level.
The agenda discussed was:
Introduction Led by Thea Emmerling, DG Health and Consumer Protection (DG Sanco).
Purpose and objectives of the workshop Led by Hand de Uries, RAND Europe. Mr Uries presented an overview of the Commission’s Impact Assessment and did a presentation on the problem definition and the methodological approach.
Presentation of the policy options. Led by Anna Jessem, DG Health and Consumer Protection (DG Sanco). Ms Jessem presented the advantages and disadvantages of the possible 5 policy options and remembered that the combination between them can be take into account.
Facilitated discussion Led by Hand de Uries,RAND Europe.
Different questions were take into account:
Aspects and consequences of the problems that have not been addressed or been addressed insufficiently i.e. exposure at work.
The definition of the problem in terms of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) prevalence, morbidity, mortality, health care costs and non health care costs, i.e. More data regarding the economic cost of illness of lung cancer, asma, heart disease, stroke and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are needed.
Recent evidence or data sources that are worth investigating in order to further sharpen the problem definition.
The identification and analysis of the policy options and other EV actions that should be considered, i.e. It’s necessary to clarify what is included in the term "workplace".
About the main objective which, according to Mr Ures, is to make an "educated guess" at the impact of the 5 policies on various model inputs, social and economic impacts of interest.
Closing remarks It was announced that DG Social and Employment Affairs will launch in the near future a public consultation on the fifth policy option, regarding "Binding legislation".
EPHA considers a total ban on smoking in all enclosed public places as the only approach that should be adopted.
Among the options described in Section V, EPHA favours a Council/Commission Recommendation on smoke-free work and public places.
In addition, EPHA also considers that the successful implementation of smoke free legislation throughout Europe should be monitored and the Commission should provide a report (or fund research) every two years bearing in mind the following expected milestones: an increase in people’s awareness of the dangers of active and passive smoking, increase of the number of people who successfully quit and the impact so social equity in countries which introduced comprehensive bans.
Finally, we would like to reiterate that the tobacco industry must be excluded from smoke free policy debates because of the unique role of its products in causing harm and because of its track record of deceptive behaviour.
For further information
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