European Citizens’ Initiative Seeks to Make EU Tobacco-Free by 2030

European Citizens’ Initiative Seeks to Make EU Tobacco-Free by 2030

The European Commission has announced the registration of a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) entitled ‘Call to achieve a tobacco-free environment and the first European tobacco-free generation by 2030′.

Once formally registered, an ECI allows one million citizens from at least seven EU Member States to invite the European Commission to propose legal acts in areas where it has the power to act.

The organisers of the initiative called on the Commission to propose legislation to save new generations from falling into tobacco addiction, to act against related environmental dangers and against smoking.

More specifically, they ask the Commission to propose legal acts to end the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to citizens born in 2010 onwards. The initiative also calls on specific measures to achieve tobacco-free and cigarette butt-free beaches and riverbanks, create a European network of tobacco and cigarette butt-free national parks, to extend outdoor vapour-free spaces, and to eliminate tobacco advertising and its presence in audio visual productions and social media.

As this European Citizens’ Initiative fulfils the formal conditions, the Commission considers that it is legally admissible. The Commission has not analysed the substance of the proposal at this stage.

Following today’s registration, the organisers have six months to open the signature collection. If a European Citizens’ Initiative receives one million statements of support within one year, from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react. The Commission could decide to take the request forward or not and will be required to explain its reasoning.

Figures from EuroStat showed that in 2019, 18.4% of the EU population aged 15 years or more reported that they were daily cigarette smokers.

Tobacco use is among the leading risk factors for global mortality. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study estimated that, in the EU, tobacco use including tobacco smoking, tobacco chewing and exposure to second hand smoke accounted for over 907,000 deaths and over 22,150,000 Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in 2019; most of this burden was caused by active tobacco smoking.

The European Citizens’ Initiative was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens. It was officially launched in April 2012. Since the beginning of the ECI, the Commission has received 118 requests to launch a European Citizens’ Initiative, 91 of which were admissible and thus qualified to be registered.

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