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On the 14-16thJune, EFA Isabel Proaño participated at the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) International Conference on Tobacco Control hosted in Madrid.

As partners of the event and ENSP Members, we were very keen to learn about the latest evidence concerning tobacco control measures and legal aspects, to better support smokers quitting with cessation programmes, and to reduce exposure to second-hand smoking.  

There were various sessions stressing the right to health and to a healthy environment as a human right warranty to push tobacco smoke out of all public spaces and those spaces where minors are present. Several advocates exposed the legal work they are doing at national level using the human rights framework. This was very interesting for us as an argument to continue raising awareness and asking for clean air free from tobacco in Europe.

The tobacco market is a quickly evolving environment. We learnt more about heated tobacco, a tobacco product that is used through an electronic device, but that is not burned and does not produce smoke. It is becoming popular in Europe but as tobacco product containing nicotine, it is dangerous and carcinogenic.

It was very interesting to know more about the results of the SILNE-R project financed by European Commission, a project ran in several EU schools to survey and test specific strategies to refrain teens from smoking and help them quit. There were also sessions analysing the positioning and marketization of certain tobacco products, especially encouraging consumption among young women. It is the case for water-pipe consumption, a type of tobacco product that has rapidly popularised in Asia and the Middle East, and that is growing in Europe under the name Hookah. Their publicity and ads target mainly teens or young women, as a soft partying type of activity for those willing to have fun in their town or abroad.

Finally, there were several studies around second-hand smoke (SHS) legislation worth mentioning: One is the TackSHS Tand EU project analysing the impact SHS and e-cigarettes emissions have on the respiratory health of the European population and how health impacts vary according to socio-economic parameters with particular emphasis on specific vulnerable groups (patients suffering from pre-existing chronic lung diseases, heavy smokers, and other disadvantaged groups).  The other one is the Tobaccofree Sports Stadia, an initiative to have football stadia free of smoke.

It was a great opportunity to meet the Spanish tobacco control community, especially the associations, medical society and academia working hand in hand to improve health through tobacco prevention.

It was an honour also to discuss openly with the two Spanish ex-Health Ministries, Elena Salgado and Trinidad Jiménez, who initiated and managed to pass the two tobacco control laws in Spain in 2006 and 2011, that inspired so many other European countries to take the step to protect health. We asked them how patients could foster such regulatory change in the benefit of society, and Ms Jiménez replied civil society, especially patients, are crucial partners for Governments willing to change legislation in areas where society is highly polarised. She encouraged the audience to mobilise towards the future tobacco legislation review.  

To know more about tobacco’s impact on health, visit our website.

The full programme of the conference is available here.

Tags: Category: Event,News
Country: EU
Disease area: Asthma,Allergy,COPD,Other diseases
Theme: Tobacco and smoking