Turning Europe into a smoke-free zone

 作者:澹台筇癔     |      日期:2019-03-02 08:08:02
By New Scientist and Reuters The European Union’s health chief is to seek a “comprehensive ban” on smoking in public places across the group’s 27 countries, he announced on Tuesday. “At the end of the day there should be this comprehensive ban and I will be ready to defend this, not only before the health ministers, but also the finance ministers because there are also economic benefits for a country,” health commissioner Markos Kyprianou said. Kyprianou would not be drawn on a timetable for a ban, but said he would like to see it happen “as soon as possible”. All 27 EU governments, non-governmental organisations, consumers and the tobacco industry will be invited to put forward proposals on smoking bans by 31 May 2007. The Commission is expected to deliver its final recommendations in early 2008. But Kyprianou, himself an ex-smoker, said he would not be talking to the tobacco industry during the consultation period. “Why should I? I don’t see anything can be achieved by this. They produce products that kill, it’s simple,” he said. According to EU figures, 650,000 Europeans die each year from tobacco-related diseases. This figure includes an estimated 19,000 non-smokers who are among the victims of passive smoking. One bar worker per week is killed by passive smoking, research shows. In March 2004, Ireland became the first country in the world to introduce a nationwide ban on smoking in pubs, restaurants and other enclosed workplaces. Just 18 months later, studies revealed that the ban had improved respiratory health in the country (see Smoking ban is a clear winner). Kyprianou called on all EU countries to follow suit. “Once this happens there is also an opportunity to improve and extend the laws even further,” he said. “I accept that there are cultural differences…I am ready to accept a step-by-step approach, but only provided there is a commitment that we will reach a comprehensive ban,” he said. Italy, Sweden and Scotland have introduced similar laws to Ireland’s. The rest of the UK is set to follow suit on 1 July 2007. EU members such as Germany oppose a ban, while others including Belgium and France favour limited laws or a phasing-in of legislation. A French ban on smoking in offices, stores, schools and hospitals comes into effect on Thursday, while cafes,