European Commission calls for smoke-free EU by 2012

10:30, 01 July 2009
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The European Commission...

The European Commission on Tuesday called on all European Union (EU) member states to install laws to protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke by 2012, according to Xinhua.

    The EU member states are asked to adopt and implement laws to fully protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke in enclosed public places, workplace and public transport, within three years of adoption of the commission`s proposal by them.

    They are also asked to enhance smoke-free laws with supporting measures to protect children, encourage efforts to give up tobacco use and to have pictorial warnings on tobacco packages.

    Currently, 10 EU countries have comprehensive smoke-free laws in place. Britain and Ireland have the strictest smoke-free provisions with a complete ban on smoking in enclosed public places, on public transport and in workplace. Bulgaria is due to follow suit in 2010.

    Italy, Malta, Sweden, Latvia, Finland, Slovenia, France and the Netherlands have introduced smoke-free legislation allowing for special enclosed smoking rooms.

    In the remaining member states, citizens and workers are not fully protected from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplace and public places.

    Tobacco remains the largest single cause of premature death and disease in the EU, said the commission, the executive body of the EU.

    According to conservative estimates, 79,000 adults, including 19,000 non-smokers, died in the EU in 2002 due to exposure to tobacco smoke at home and in their workplace.

    A recent EU-wide poll suggests that popularity is mounting for smoke-free policies with 84 percent of EU citizens supporting smoke-free offices and other indoor workplace. Some 77 percent of them were in favor of smoke-free restaurants, and 61 percent supported smoke-free bars and pubs.

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