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New Report Highlights That the Czech Republic Could Serve as a Model for the EU in Addressing Smoking Prevalence

Ahead of the start of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU in July, the think tank Centre for Economic and Market Analysis (CETA) published the comparative study “A new approach towards tobacco legislation: the case for harm reduction in CEE and the EU” at an event in Prague. It presents a new measure, the so-called ‘Harm Reduction Index’ which ranks EU Member States according to their ability to implement the concept of risk reduction.

Yesterday, an event organised by the Czech think tank Centre for Economic and Market Analysis (CETA) brought together medical and addiction experts in Prague to discuss how a tobacco-free generation, where less than 5% of EU-citizens use tobacco, can be achieved by 2040. They concluded that the objectives laid out in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan cannot be attained under current circumstances and that a revised tobacco control policy based on scientific evidence is needed.

"If the European Commission is serious about its plans to reduce the number of smokers and the impact of smoking, it must start considering the concept of risk reduction in the area of smoking,” Czech National Drug Coordinator Mgr. Jindřich Vobořil highlighted at the event. “The Czech Government has committed itself to this approach in its programme statement for the upcoming Presidency. I will also promote it in relation to the ongoing evaluation of the Tobacco Products Directive, which is an effective policy to achieve a real reduction in the number of smokers of conventional cigarettes,” he added.

"The data show that the abstinence approach is inadequate. The solution for smokers is to switch to less harmful alternatives," agreed Assoc. Ernest Groman, MD, from the Vienna Nicotine Institute. The only European country close to the 5% target is Sweden. According to the experts, the low number of smokers is mainly due to the availability of less harmful alternatives.

Assoc. MUDr. Viktor Mravčík, Ph.D added that, "The harm reduction approach should be implemented by the European Commission in the context of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive.”

"According to the Harm Reduction Index, the Czech Republic ranks second among the countries compared. The Czech government should use the upcoming Presidency to undertake a comprehensive review of tobacco dependence policies based on science rather than emotion,” CETA Research Director Ing. Aleš Rod, Ph. D. and member of the Advisory Board to the Czech Government concluded.

About CETA:

The Centre for Economic and Market Analysis (CETA) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation that aims to analyse market, socio-economic and political phenomena and highlight their impacts.

The Institute for Rational Addiction Policies is a multidisciplinary association of independent and distinguished experts who are dedicated to research and education in the field of addiction from all perspectives.

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