On 23 January, the European Lung Foundation (ELF) was glad to join the European Respiratory Society’s event Endgame begins now. Clinicians, academics and field experts discussed issues around the UK’s proposed tobacco cessation policy, which aims to stop the sale of tobacco to individuals born from 2009 onwards.
ELF is particularly interested in this subject as we look forward to cooperating with the advocacy youth groups being created to support the EU project FRESHAIR4LIFE. They will focus on preventing 14-21 year olds’ exposure to air pollution and tobacco. ELF is in the process of forming its own Youth Group, that will focus on young people from 16 to 24 years old who have an interest in a particular lung condition or topic related to lung health.
The event’s discussions focused around understanding the UK proposal, the barriers that New Zealand have encountered with a similar policy, as well as adoption of other policies in countries in Europe.
During the event, there was a concrete commitment from those in the room to have the tobacco endgame as an aim for all countries. The speakers pointed out that more funding towards school programmes is needed, so that young people are aware of the risks and damage caused by tobacco and that more policies should be aimed at de-incentivising children from taking up smoking.
Finally, speakers concluded that there should be a stronger focus on reducing tobacco supply and cross-border demand as well as taking measures to reduce illicit trade. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) provides a foundation for tobacco endgame to be conceivable. This, and the implementation of policies such as the Tobacco 21 campaign (T21), which pushes policy makers to raise the tobacco age-of-sale to 21 are important stepping stones towards the ultimate goal of tobacco cessation.
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