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December 7th, 2016:

Tobacco Companies Seeking To Influence Policy Are Violating the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Tobacco industry representatives are continuing to meet with and are attempting to influence government officials in many countries.

Tobacco industry representatives are continuing to meet with and are attempting to influence government officials in many countries, which is a direct violation of those countries’ commitments under the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), according to a report presented at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Austria.1

Luke Clancy, MD, of the Tobacco Free Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland, said that the tobacco industry’s access to tobacco control policy makers has had a harmful impact on public health and provides the companies with a direct avenue to influence public policy.

The tobacco industry manipulates contacts in government under the guise of helping national governments negotiate harmonization of tobacco excise tax deadlines, for example, but Dr Clancy said that this directly contravenes FCTC Article 5.3, which aims to prevent industry from influencing policy development.

Tobacco use remains “stubbornly high” in Europe, despite the existence of widely recognized and effective interventions, such as raising the price of tobacco products through taxation, adopting smoke-free legislation to prevent exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace, and banning advertising and promotion of tobacco use, said Dr Clancy.

In a related press conference, Dr Clancy indicated that although all 27 European Union member state countries have initiated some type of strategy to become smoke free, there is still much work to be done.2

“Despite this progress, the prevalence of smoking in Ireland is 18.5%. The prevalence of smoking in Europe as a whole remains at approximately 29% of the adult population, and seems to be increasing among females in some European countries,” he said. “Ireland hopes to be tobacco free by 2025. Full implementation of the WHO FCTC recommendations may not be enough to achieve this in Ireland.”

WHO recommends the monitoring of smoking and the provision of cessation programs, but the implementation of services to support cessation of tobacco use in line with Article 14 of the FCTC “can and should be significantly improved,” said Dr Clancy. He contended that the tobacco industry and its allies have worked to oppose price increases by attempting to persuade finance ministers that a price increase will lead to a loss of revenue through an increase in smuggling despite evidence to the contrary.

Smoke-free policies can achieve their positive effect by educating the public about the health benefits of quitting smoking, limiting opportunities to smoke, and promoting an attitude of denormalization of smoking, he concluded.

1. Clancy L. Tobacco Control. Paper presented at: 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer; December 2016; Vienna, Austria.
2. Clancy L. Press Conference at: 17th World Conference on Lung Cancer; December 5 2016; Vienna, Austria.

Philip Morris (PM) Seeks FDA Approval for IQOS Products

Tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc. PM has filed an application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its IQOS products (heatsticks that heat tobacco instead of burning it).

Once the Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) claim is approved by FDA, the company will be able to enjoy a significant marketing advantage over other reduced risk tobacco products that are being sold currently. The regulatory authority is expected to take a minimum of 60 days for completing an administrative review of the application.

The heatsticks are already available in several test markets. Philip Morris launched these products in fiscal 2015 in Japan and Italy where it became very popular. Further, there is a steady increase in the number of iQOS purchasers who have predominantly or fully converted to these reduced risk products.

Once these products get a go ahead from the FDA, Altria Group Inc. MO will also be able to sell these products in the U.S.

Altria and Philip Morris have been working on reduced risk tobacco products for quite some time. In 2015, the two companies had entered into a strategic agreement under which Philip Morris markets Altria’s MarkTen e-cigarettes internationally. Altria in turn distributes two of Philip Morris’ heated tobacco products in the U.S.

Further, the companies have decided to partner on a regulatory engagement related to the products. The joint venture has made excellent progress on branding and go-to-market strategies for non-conventional cigarettes in the U.S. market. Additionally, the two companies were working together on the above mentioned modified-risk tobacco product claim.


1 in every 4 persons aged 15 or over in the European Union is a smoker

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One quarter of people living in the EU smoke tobacco, new statistics reveal

New statistics published on Wednesday by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, reveal one quarter of people living in the EU smoke tobacco.

In addition to those who smoke themselves, one in every five are passively exposed to tobacco smoke.

The new report measured how much those aged over 15 years old smoke. The data represents people’s habits in 2014. It was compiled between 2013 and 2015 and was extracted from the European Health Interview Survey.

Its findings indicate that nearly 24 percent of people in the EU smoke, when including those who only smoke occasionally. It also shows the share of men who smoke, is significantly higher than that of women.

The report, part of the European Health Interview Survey, adds that tobacco consumption is one of the largest avoidable health risks in the EU: many forms of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are linked to tobacco use.

How it compares

The 2014 figures, when compared with the last time the EU looked at tobacco consumption in 2010, suggests a decreasing trend in tobacco usage among EU citizens.

Six years ago, 29 percent of people living in the EU considered themselves active smokers, nearly five percentage points higher than in the EU’s current evaluation.

The report also shows a drop in the percentage of smokers in the countries which previously had the highest population of tobacco users.

In Greece, 42 percent of those aged over 15 said they smoked in 2010. That number has dropped to 32 percent.

While still in the top two countries for tobacco consumption, this drop is significant and now places Greece below Bulgaria.

Sweden remains the country with the lowest percentage of smokers, with a consistent 16 percent of the population admitting to tobacco use in both surveys.

Here is a breakdown of the 2016 report data:

Smoking EU-wide: As percentage of population



Percentage of population by country aged at least 15 years old…

Non-smoking/ Current smokers


Daily exposure to tobacco smoke indoors within EU countries


Total smoking in the EU according to gender