Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease, especially of lung cancer. Approximately 1.6 million people in the WHO European Region die of tobacco- related diseases every year and the Region has the highest proportion of deaths (16%) attributable to tobacco use. Globally, Europe also has the highest prevalence of tobacco smoking among adults (28%), including one of the highest smoking prevalence rates among women (19%). In the meantime it is well-known that a wide range of political decisions can stop the tobacco epidemic and reduce substantially smoking. According to the first health treaty in history, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, following strategies are the most effective: raising cigarette prices through higher cigarette tax and combating illicit trade of cigarettes, protecting from secondhand smoke through comprehensive smoke-free air laws, enforcing bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship, placing warnings (pictures and text as big as possible) on tobacco packages and communicate the warnings through media/educational programs and finally offering greater access to smoking cessation services. WHO Europe has established a database on countries of the WHO European region showing the effects of the reduction in smoking prevalence as a result of implementing tobacco control policies. This presentation will analyze the current situation in this Region and showing the lessons learnt from past years with regards to future prevention of smoking.
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