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18 April 2023
Asthma , COPD
PREVENT, - Tobacco & Smoking

The European Network of Smoking Prevention and Control (ENSP), of which EFA is associate member, has launched a key European Citizens Initiative (ECI) ‘Call to Achieve a Tobacco-Free Environment and a European Tobacco-Free Generation by 2030’. The ECI is co-led by the Spanish civil society organisation NoFumadores, and is translated in all 24 official EU languages.

The ENSP initiative is part of an intense background work in relation to the EU legislative framework on tobacco control. Mainly driven by the need to tackle cancer, changes will hopefully address the tobacco epidemic from various different angles: market regulations/interventions on tobacco and smoking products; policies to reduce active smoking/vaping; but also measures to limit exposure to second-hand smoke.

What is a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)

A European Citizens Initiative is one of the official tools through which civil society can put forward policy proposals on a specific issue and ask the European Commission for action. It requires 1 million validated signatures. 

An ECI involves a pan-European campaign for the collection of online signatures by individual EU citizens across the 27 Member States, usually open for 12 months. If an initiative reaches 1 million signatures (having fulfilled certain thresholds in each country), then the proposals must be examined by the Commission and the Parliament. The Commission will spell out what action it will propose in response to the initiative (if any), and its reasons for taking (or not taking) action.

Objective of the Tobacco-Free Generation by 2030 ECI

The ECI was launched in January 2023 and seeks to prompt strong action to address the tobacco epidemic, both in terms of its huge burden on health and its environmental footprint. It aims to achieve a set of specific objectives:

  • Promote the first tobacco-free European generation by 2030, ending the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to citizens born from 2010 onwards
  • Create a European net of tobacco-free and butts-free beaches, riverbanks and national parks, making these spaces healthier, more environmentally sustainable, and reducing contamination and the risks associated with fires
  • Extend outdoor smoke and vapor-free spaces, especially those frequented by minors (parks, swimming pools, sports events and centers, show areas and restaurants terraces)
  • Eliminate tobacco advertising and presence in social media, specially addressing covert advertising through influencers and product placement
  • Finance research for diseases caused by tobacco use to improve their prognosis and help cure.

Why is it important that you sign it

The proposals in this ECI advocate for EFA priorities in the area of tobacco control, and its success will benefit all our patient community, as well as the environment we all live in! 

Overall, the ECI urges for a significantly improved EU tobacco policy framework than the one envisaged by the Commission. One example is to ensure that the Tobacco-Free Generation is achieved by 2030, therefore much faster than the official plans for 2040.

Therefore, we strongly encourage you to support the ECI by signing up online.

What can you do to support the ECI

The ECI is a citizen-driven initiative, and therefore it is key to ensure the widest possible support. Whether you are an organisation or an individual, you can support it by sharing it with your membership and in your communication channels to further increase visibility, as well as with national organisations working on public health and tobacco control.