Finland’s position on TPD in favour of strengthening provision
The Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation succeeded in stirring the Finnish government into adopting a general position on the Tobacco Product Directive proposed by the European Commission in December 2012. Following a letter sent by the director of the association Ilkka Repo, the Finnish government prepared a position paper for the Finnish Parliament and declared that their position is in line with the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation’s priorities.
EFA’s Finnish member is advocating for minimizing the burden of tobacco use in Europe. They support the Commission’s proposal on plain packaging and pictorial warnings, ban on flavouring and misleading features such a slim cigarettes in order to reduce their attractiveness to young people. However, FAAF would appreciate if the Directive was even tighter.
In a reply to FAAF’s letter, the Finnish government endorsed the Commission’s proposal and praised its aim at improving the functioning of the internal market as well as promoting public health and protecting consumers. Stricter regulations of ingredients were considered appropriate, but clearer distinctions would be appreciated.
The position of Finland on mandatory pictorial warnings on tobacco packs is favourable and the government would seek the introduction of such features in the whole EU. According to the Finnish government this should not be left to Member states consideration, but it should be managed on the EU level.
Last but not least, cross border selling of tobacco should be totally banned. The Government believes that the new tobacco product groups placing on the market should be completely prevented and special attention should also be paid to e-cigarette devices’ safety.
EFA welcomes this opinion and will continue its advocacy for strengthen provisions in the proposed Directive.
Allergy UK launches Nurses Appeal
Allergy UK has launched a £1million appeal to put specialist allergy nurses into the heart of local communities across the UK. The leading national charity is aiming to raise a minimum £1million so that, with the help of our supporters, we can begin to make a significant difference to allergy sufferers.
World Asthma Day 2013 in Ireland – Fighting asthma with every breath
An alliance of medical and environmental experts has joined forces on World Asthma Day to call for a sustained commitment to cleaner air in Ireland. The launch of the alliance comes in the aftermath of announcement by Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government that he sees a ban on smoky coal being implemented within the next three years.
Commenting on the Minister’s proposals, members of the new national INHALE Alliance (Ireland Needs Healthier Air and Lower Emissions) have called for speedy implementation of the ban, to best protect the health and well-being of people who suffer from asthma, and the population as a whole.
Formed by the Asthma Society of Ireland, the INHALE Alliance came together in recent weeks, having separately advocated for cleaner air across Ireland. Members of the Alliance have been drawn from the fields of medicine, science and the environment and they have jointly welcomed the intention to ban smoky coal on an all-island basis.
Since smoky coal was banned in Dublin in 1990, there has been improved life expectancy and overall benefits for the health of the population. This has meant a reduction of deaths in the order of one less death per day, because of a brave decision taken 23 years ago. This announcement by the Minister for the Environment means that people across the island of Ireland will shortly be able to breathe clean air.
People who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma can be badly affected by exposure to harmful particles in the air which result from pollutants, including the burning of smoky coal. These harmful particles can trigger and exacerbate conditions such as asthma, particularly during wintertime.
Sharon Cosgrove, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland welcomed the announcement as positive news for the 470,000 people with asthma in Ireland. She said: “We are delighted that the Minister intends to introduce a ban on smoky coal across the state within the next 3 years. It is appropriate that this announcement has been made during the EU-designated Year of Air and coincides with the Asthma Society’s World Asthma Day campaign, Fighting asthma with every breath. Asthma is the most common chronic disease in Ireland, with approximately half a million sufferers, and Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of asthma worldwide. We warmly welcome this progressive decision to eliminate dangerous pollutants in the air which exacerbate and trigger this potentially fatal condition.”
In forming the INHALE Alliance, the Asthma Society of Ireland also recognises the need for expedited implementation of the National Asthma Programme.
World Asthma Day in Spain
On May 7 EFA’s Spanish member, the National Federation of Respiratory Disease Associations (FENAER), celebrated the World Asthma Day at St. Mary of Apostles schools in Jaén with various activities:
These activities were focused on the educational community, partners and stakeholders dealing with health issues. ALERJA celebrated the World Asthma day in collaboration with the Department of Pneumology at the Ciudad de Jaén hospital.
In 2013 RESPIRA has been working hard on several projects. RESPIRA’s Work Plan and Budget for 2013 were discussed and approved at the General Assembly in 2012, setting down the following objectives:
External activities involved dissemination of information on COPD and public events focused on smoking cessation and spirometry. RESPIRA also won a TV prize and one of our ambassadors did an interview on his experience as an ex-smoker.