Chapter 7: The emergence of EU lifestyle risk regulation: new trends in evidence, proportionality and judicial review
The EU has over the last two decades witnessed the enactment of a vast body of legislation to protect the environment as well as individuals’ health and safety. The growing involvement of the EU in the government of risk reflects the powers it derives from the EU Treaties in the field of both environmental protection and public health, and the ensuing Treaty-sanctioned imperatives to ensure a ‘high level of protection’ in both these policy areas. There is an emerging area of risk policy intervention in which both the EU and its Member States are increasingly interested in taking action: lifestyle risks. As a global consensus has emerged on the urgency to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, chronic respiratory disease and cancer, the need to regulate the major lifestyle risk factors associated with these largely preventable diseases has been acknowledged by both the EU and its Member States. The four main risk factors are: tobacco consumption, the harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity. Despite the fact that NCDs account for nearly 86 per cent of deaths and 77 per cent of the disease burden in Europe, the EU’s awareness of the threat posed by their growing burden on the EU’s economy and the well-being of its citizens is relatively recent.
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