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EU ban on ciggie breaks? Just hot air

June 3rd, 2007
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“EU targets huddling smokers’ last haven: the office doorway”
(Observer, 3 June 2007 pp.1,4)

“Ciggie break stubbed out”
(Daily Star, 4 June 2007, p.23)

” Smokers who refuse to quit could be denied routine surgery”
(The Daily Telegraph, 4 June 2007, pp.1,2)

There are no EU proposals to restrict smoking outdoors. These articles refer to a Green Paper, a document that invites member states and stakeholders to discuss possible policy options on health risks related to smoking. A Green Paper launches a consultation and does not propose legislation. This particular paper also clearly states that one option is taking no action whatsoever at EU level. National measures may prove sufficient to tackle the threat to public health, which all EU member states agree exists.

The consultation launched by the Green Paper ended on 1st June. The Commission will now analyse the responses and produce a report with the main findings of the consultation before considering further steps, if indeed any.

If justified by the comments received and the developments in the member states, a follow-up to the Green Paper may be published in 2008.

According to the results of the Eurobarometer, an EU-wide survey, on tobacco, smoke-free policies are extremely popular among EU citizens. An overwhelming majority of 88% support smoke-free offices, indoor workplaces and any indoor public space – a slight increase compared to last year’s survey.

According to the data, around half of European citizens do not permit smoking in their home and four out of five are aware that second-hand smoke is harmful for health. The survey reveals that almost one in three smokers have tried to give up in the last 12 months. However, over 70% of them have relapsed into the habit in less than two months.

The Green Paper on tobacco (Jan.2007):
“Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level”

Q&A on tobacco and the EU

Eurobarometer (May 2007):
Attitudes of Europeans towards Tobacco

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