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EU aims for 5% tobacco use by 2040

21 May 2021. The EU Commission has published its first report on the Tobacco Products Directive, underlining its goal of a tobacco-free generation in Europe, where less than 5 per cent of people use tobacco by 2040.

Thanks to the Directive, the EU has witnessed steady decreases in smoking rates and tobacco use. However, more efforts are needed, says the report.

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “With Europe's Beating Cancer Plan we are proposing bold and ambitious actions to reduce the use of tobacco. We have set a very clear objective - to create a tobacco-free generation in Europe, where less than 5% of people use tobacco by 2040. This means enforcing EU tobacco legislation more strictly and helping it keep pace with new developments. EU legislation on tobacco has clearly had a positive impact on smoking rates in the EU, but to meet our target, we must set our sights higher. The upcoming reviewing of the Tobacco Products Directive will be an important part of this work.”

According to the report, tobacco is the single largest avoidable health risk in the EU, accounting for 27 per cent of all cancers attributable to its use.

Adopted in 2014, and applicable for most of its provision as of May 2016, the Directive has put in place comprehensive EU tobacco control policy rules, notably through enlarged combined health warnings, a track and trace system, a ban on characterising flavours, the creation of an ingredients database and the regulation of electronic cigarettes. The report also concludes that, due to market developments, there is scope for improvement in certain essential areas such as labelling, assessment of ingredients, cross-border distance sales and novel and emerging products.