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Cyprus Addictions Authority/EU Tobacco Free Initiative

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Αρχor Αν τιμετoπισης Εξαρτorσεων Κyπρου/&Pi ;ρωτοβουλλα ΕΕ χωρλς Καπνό

Smoking is the number one public health problem worldwide, resulting in millions of preventable deaths every year worldwide.

The Cyprus Addictions Authority participates as a member of the European Network for Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) in which 77 members and partners from 38 European countries participate. At the initiative of ENSP, the campaign to collect 1 million signatures at the Pan-European level starts today. These signatures are a call to the European Commission to respond and take action, proposing legislation on tobacco addiction, to act against the associated environmental risks and against smoking.

The European citizens' initiative is therefore a way for every European citizen to actively participate in EU policy-making. This initiative calls for a better level of health and a better environment free from the dangers of tobacco use. The goal is to collect one million signatures within one year (January 2023-January 2024). For Cyprus, our target is 4230 signatures.

In order to ensure a healthy smoke-free environment for new generations, in addition to vigorous action against the environmental hazards caused by cigarette butts and the fight against smoking, it is necessary:

  1. To promote the first European smoke-free generation by 2030, ending the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to minors.
  2. To create a European network of smoke-free beaches and riverbanks, making these spaces healthier and environmentally sustainable.
  3. To create a European Network of smoke- and cigarette-free National Parks, making them healthier and reducing pollution and the risk of fires.
  4. To expand smoke- and cigarette-free outdoor spaces, especially those frequented by minors (parks , swimming pools, sporting events and centres, entertainment and outside restaurant areas).
  5. Eliminate tobacco-tobacco advertising and the presence of tobacco products in audiovisual productions, and on social media, especially through well-known influencers (influencers).
  6. To finance research projects on diseases caused by the use of tobacco, in order to improve their prognosis and make them treatable.

The Cyprus Addictions Authority (AAEK), together with over 20 other organizations from Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland , Portugal, Romania and Sweden, we have joined in the framework of the European Citizens' Initiative, to draw the attention of all decision makers to how harmful tobacco and nicotine products are and the absolute need to put the health of European citizens and our environment, above the interests of the tobacco industry.

Indicative of the data in our country on smoking, as shown by the General Population survey (2019), almost 38% of the population reported smoking by in the last month, while 9.3% smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day.

Regarding the student population (15-16 years old), smoking in the last month was reported by 18% of Cypriot students (from the Pan-European survey of the student population ESPAD) and since 2003 there has been a steady decrease in this percentage.

Unfortunately, the data regarding electronic cigarettes are different, since 4.6% of students reported daily use, exceeding the research average (3.1%).

Additionally, regarding hookah use, the survey showed that, compared to the other 34 countries that participated in the survey in 2019, Cyprus is among the countries with the highest rates of hookah use in the last month (Cyprus 21%, Average ESPAD 8.9%).

Based on the above data, AAEK calls on all citizens aged 18+ to use their right, as defined by the EU Constitution, to make a change for themselves, for their loved ones, but also for the next generation.

We also invite all AAEK partners to support the signature collection campaign by adopting the code (QR QUOTE) in the e-mail signature or by posting on their organization's website. This code provides easy access to the European Commission's signature collection page by scanning with the mobile phone camera.

By signing this initiative you can actively contribute to a healthy population, a healthy environment, a healthy Europe!

Source: eurokerdos.cyprustimes.com

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