EU Parliament’s backtracking on smoking ban undermines smokefree directive proposals.

Wednesday 14 February 2007

ASH news release:  For immediate release: 14 February 2007


EU Parliament’s backtracking on smoking ban undermines smokefree directive proposals

A decision by the European Parliament to abandon its smokefree policy and to reintroduce smoking rooms  is a major setback and could undermine the Commission’s consultation on proposals for a smokefree Europe, said ASH today. [1]  The move runs counter to the growing Europe-wide move towards making workplaces smokefree and also overrides a poll of MEP’s who voted in favour of the ban.  The decision also comes at a time when a major new study shows that even low levels of exposure to other people’s smoke can be enough to trigger heart disease. [2]  Another recent study also confirmed the evidence that secondhand smoke is a cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. [3]


Deborah Arnott, Director of the health campaigning charity ASH, said:


“The European Parliament’s action is scandalous and sends out completely the wrong message. There can be no justification for politicians to place themselves above the law and it makes a mockery of the Commission’s proposals for a EU-wide smoking ban. In the light of the mass of evidence showing the detrimental effects of secondhand smoke  we urge MEPs to reconsider this policy and to urgently reinstate the smoking ban.”



Notes and links:

[1]  The European Commission has just published a Green Paper: “Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level”. The consultation includes an option for comprehensive smokefree regulation.   A poll of MEPs conducted in 2006 found that of 946 respondents, 60.15% voted for a complete ban.


[2]  Venn A & Britton J. Exposure to Secondhand Smoke and Biomarkers of Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Never-Smoking Adults.  Circulation 2007 doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.106.648469

The study concludes: “Passive smokers appear to have disproportionately increased levels of 2 biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk, fibrinogen and homocysteine. This finding provides further evidence to suggest that low-level exposure to secondhand smoke has a clinically important effect on susceptibility to cardiovascular disease.”


[3] Stayner, L et al. Lung cancer risk and workplace exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.   AJPH published online ahead of print Jan 31, 2007 10.2105/AJPH.2004.061275


Contact: Deborah Arnott  020 7739 5902 (w) 079 7693 5987 (m) ISDN available


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