UK again tops EU scale of tobacco control measures

Thursday 27 March 2014

For the third time, the UK has come top in a European survey measuring the implementation of key tobacco control policies. [1] The survey of 34 European states ranks the countries according to how well they are implementing six policies identified by the World Bank as being essential for a comprehensive tobacco control programme. [2] The UK scored 74 out of a possible maximum score of 100, with Ireland in second place scoring 70 points.  Austria, with just 31 points, came bottom of the table.

The UK scored highly on five of the six measures: tobacco tax, smokefree places, advertising bans, health warnings and stop smoking support, but was marked down for reducing expenditure on public information campaigns since 2010.

The 2013 Tobacco Control Scale is a follow up to similar surveys conducted since 2004.  The UK topped the scale in 2007 & 2010. [3]

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:

“It is no surprise that the UK again tops the table for tackling tobacco. This is a testament to the tough measures brought in by successive governments which have reduced smoking uptake by young people and helped smokers quit.”

“However, the cut in expenditure on mass media campaigns is a cause for concern especially as smoking rates have stagnated since this happened. To further drive down smoking the Government needs to increase funding for these campaigns, as well as to implement plain, standardised packaging for tobacco products.”


Notes and Links:

[1] Joossens, L & Raw, M. The Tobacco Control Scale 2013.  A report of the Association of European Cancer Leagues. (pdf)

For further information on the report contact: Luk Joossens, Tobacco Control Advocacy Officer: or

[2] World Bank. Tobacco control at a glance. Washington, World Bank, Feb 2011. (pdf)

[3] – Tobacco Control Scale 2010 in Europe.
– Joossens L & Raw M. The Tobacco Control Scale: a new scale to measure country activity,           Tobacco Control. Jun 2006; 15(3): 247–253. doi: 10.1136/tc.2005.015347