World No Tobacco Day

Less than three years after its entry into force the EU advertising ban has proven its effectiveness. This is the conclusion of the Commission report on the performance of the Tobacco Advertising Directive. Directive. On the 30th May 2008, all Member States have transposed the Directive and tobacco brand advertising in the press aimed at the general public has virtually disappeared. Direct tobacco sponsorship of cross-border sports and other events within the EU has also ceased. The key challenge in the tobacco advertising ban has shifted to the internet which is difficult to control. The Commission is working with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to strengthen advertising bans at global level, to ensure that the EU ban is not undermined from the outside.

Tobacco remains the largest single cause of premature death and disease in the European Union. It causes more than 660,000 premature deaths within the EU each year – which corresponds to about 1,800 deaths a day. These deaths could be avoided.

Ban on cross-border tobacco advertising and sponsorship

The EU has a wide ban on cross-border tobacco advertising and sponsorship that covers all forms of media from the traditional print media, television and radio to new technologies such as the internet. There is also a full ban on tobacco sponsorship of cross-border sports and other events, such as the European Football Championships or Formula One races.

The long history of tobacco sponsorship and Formula One has come to an end. This is a direct result of the EU Tobacco Advertising ban. So far, in 2008, no tobacco brands have been visible in Formula One Grand Prix races. To take a recent example, no tobacco sponsorship was visible in the Formula One races that took place last weekend in Monaco. Commissioner Vassiliou has urged the organisers and participants of Formula One to ensure that tobacco advertising shall not be present in the races in the future as well.

Comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising coupled with high taxes are the most effective ways to reduce tobacco consumption and its harmful effects on health.

Youth and Tobacco Prevention Event

This years World No Tobacco Day (31st May 2008) focused on tobacco free youth with a special view on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans. The EC funded 'HELP – for a life without Tobacco' campaign, aimed at young people (15-25 years) kicked off this years World No Tobacco Day event on 28th May 2008 in Brussels with the participation of Commissioner Vassiliou and the Mayor of Brussels, Mr. Freddy Thielemans.