Smoking kills 650,000 people every year in Europe - de Brún
Sinn Féin's MEP and former Health Minister Bairbre de Brún has supported proposals in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today on moving to a Europe free from tobacco smoke and providing practical help for smokers who want to quit smoking.
Among other things, the European Parliament has spelt out practical ways in which smokers could be helped in their battle to beat their addiction. The parliament placed a strong emphasis on curbing the uptake and consumption of tobacco among young people and is seeking an amendment of the EU directive on health and safety to require all employers to ensure that the workplace is free from tobacco smoke.
From Strasbourg, Ms de Brún commented "It is refreshing and encouraging to see some new ideas emerge from Europe to help smokers quit. I am particularly supportive of moves to ban the display of cigarettes in self-service units and the idea of reducing VAT levels on products which can help people stop smoking."
"The fact is that smoking kills at least 650,000 people every year in Europe. Many of these are non-smokers affected by passive smoking while others are smokers who want to quit. I am glad to see MEPs supporting practical moves to help those who want to quit through such measures as simple as providing help numbers and website addresses for people trying to quit wherever tobacco is sold.
"According to the World Health Organisation intensive counselling of more than 10 minutes by a physician has the highest rate of getting people to stop smoking over the long-term. I would call on the Executive to look at how counselling to end nicotine dependence can be embedded in the health system at home."