Edited by Tania Voon, Andrew D. Mitchell, Jonathan Liberman and Glyn Ayres
Alberto Alemanno and Enrico Bonadio I. INTRODUCTION Despite its increased public rejection, smoking is the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in the European Union (‘EU’), accounting for 650 000 deaths each year. In addition, over 13 million people in the 27 countries of the EU suffer from smoking-related diseases. For more than a decade, however, the prevalence of smoking has been on the decline,1 reflecting a broader trend among industrialised countries that may be observed since the 1980s. The EU has been actively contributing to a reduction of tobacco consumption during the last three decades, by acting at national, regional and international levels. However, unlike other jurisdictions engaged in tobacco control policies, the EU is not a nation-state and as such it has limited competence in public health matters.2 In particular, EU tobacco policy has historically been based on the competence to establish and regulate the European internal market. Although pursuing a public health goal by promoting – rather than restricting – the free movement of cigarettes in Europe might appear paradoxical, this is the legal logic dominating the EU regulatory approach to tobacco. In spite of these limitations, the EU has been one of the most active players in tobacco control policies across the world and, as such, played a significant role in the process that led to the conclusion of the World The prevalence of smoking in the EU remains high compared to other industrialised countries, with an average of around 29 per cent. Southern European...
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