Is it too soon to hope for a tobacco free Romania?

Smoking UN.jpg

UN News/Yasmina Guerda Close to 7 million people die every year from tobacco-related illnesses according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

This article was exclusively written for the The European Sting by Alexandru-Constantin Sîrbu, Horea Chirilă and Teodor Blidaru, three 5th year medical students from Romania, currently leading the Romanian Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (FASMR), a national member organization of IFMSA. They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Romania has seen major changes regarding tobacco cessation policies in recent years, including a ban on smoking in public places, but are those even working? To actually understand the phenomenon we need some context.

On June 6, 2002 the law No. 349 was adopted, being the primary piece of legislation regulating smoking in public places. Even though the law was amended several times, the most important change came in March 2016, through the form of Law No. 15/2016, when the ban on smoking in public places was extended to fit the norms of most of the EU countries. The year 2016 was a major victory for tobacco control also because Law No. 201 forced the producers to replace the packaging and labeling of tobacco products. (1)

Since 2016 smoking is prohibited on public transport and in all indoor public places and workplaces. Before this year of change, smoking was allowed in public places like cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs.

The Romanian law prohibits most forms of direct advertising. This includes TV, radio, print media, and outdoor advertising, but the law allows advertising at the point of sale, including special offers for the buyers.

The price of tobacco products have increased regularly, now the price of one pack of 20 cigarettes being 4 euros. Also the price increases seems the be the the most efficient anti-tobacco policy for the romanian population, accounting for almost half of the smoking cessation in Romania. (2)

And yet, there is a constant problem.

According to a WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic published in 2008 smoking prevalence in young adults is 18.9% and in adults it reaches 30%. (3)

But the 2017 report from the WHO shows even more troubling data.

The young males smoking rates are 20% and female are 17% with a mean (not shown in the report) of 18.5%. Regarding adults, 26.7% of them are still smokers. (4)

This actually shows that after extensive legislation changes, including public space ban, the smoking rate barely dropped in Romania.

Furthermore, there have been extensive media campaigns to cease smoking and also many health centers provide smoking cessation support that is covered by the government.

So has the new legislation and anti-tobacco changed anything? Well, technically we can’t say. Even though we have new laws, they have been adopted quite recently (2016) and regarding the chronic use of tobacco things never changed overnight. Furthermore the data in the 2017 WHO reports was gathered in December 2016, so the time passed between the changes and the survey was short.

We have hope though, because the laws set in place are actually properly followed and not abiding to them has more than often ended up with financial sanctions. Public space ban was a strong step and with more NGOs and medical professionals advocating for even more strict tobacco control measures, we are paving the way for a cigarette free Romania in the near future.

References:

  1. Romanian laws: 15/2016, 348/2002
  2. Health impact of tobacco control policies in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)(Fact Sheet)
  3. WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2008
  4. WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2017
  5. http://2035faratutun.ro/
  6. Romanian Multiannual Plan for Education and Health
  7. Romanian National Health Strategy

About the authors

Alexandru-Constantin Sîrbu, Horea Chirilă and Teodor Blidaru are three 5th year medical students from Romania, currently leading the Romanian Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (FASMR), a national member organization of IFMSA. Since 2016, FASMR has represented medical students in high level national forums and has stated the importance of a more comprehensive tobacco control policy. Alexandru, Horea and Teodor are No Tobacco Ambassadors and have been part of the NGO network that advocated for changing the tobacco law.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Somalis ‘will not be deterred’ by Friday’s terror attacks – UN chief

The Catcher in the Rice

Heat stress spike predicted to cost global economy $2,400 billion a year

Brexit and migration dominates the debate on October’s EU summit

Plans to keep EU budget funding in 2020 in the event of a no-deal Brexit

EU car manufacturers worry about an FTA with Japan

Brexit: EP Group leaders support a flexible extension until 31/1/20

The Europeans with a job diminish dangerously

Turkey needs to step up investment in renewables to curb emissions

In Afghanistan, attacks against schools have tripled in one year

As human caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders: UN chief

Independent UN rights experts call for ‘immediate investigation’ into alleged Bezos phone hack by Saudi Arabia

Parliament makes it easier to organise a European Citizens’ Initiative

Young activists do the talking as UN marks World Children’s Day

What makes America the world’s most competitive economy?

4 things President Trump could learn from Jimmy Carter

Climate emergency: City mayors are ‘world’s first responders’, says UN chief

North Sea fisheries: MEPs back EU plan to sustain stocks of demersal species

Six months into DR Congo’s deadliest Ebola outbreak, top UN official praises ‘brave’ response effort

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Wednesday’s Daily brief: Day 3 of anti-hatred summit, UNFPA turns 50, Ben Stiller #WithRefugees, updates on Abyei

Mankind’s first tool to fight malaria also kills

UN relief chief urges Security Council to back aid delivery, more funding for millions of Syrians hit by harsh weather

Mali facing ‘alarming’ rise in rights violations, warns UN expert

The future of manufacturing is smart, secure and stable

When is Berlin telling the truth about the EU banking union?

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Guterres in Kenya, Prisoners sick in Iran, #GlobalGoals, Myanmar, Ukraine updates, and new space partnership

Don’t let smoking steal life’s breathtaking moments, urges UN health agency

Millions of Bangladeshi children at risk from climate crisis, warns UNICEF

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

Why income inequality is bad for the climate

OECD strengthens co-operation with Morocco – Renews Morocco Country Programme Agreement

How quantum computing could beat climate change

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Malaysia can show the way towards a holistic model for human rights

Eurozone: Retail sales and inflation point to recession

When it comes to envirotech adoption, NGOs can lead us out of the woods

Have we reached peak smartphone?

Africa: Urgent action needed to mobilise domestic resources as tax revenues plateau

Why do US presidential elections last so long? And 4 other things you need to know

We can save our ocean in three steps – if we act now

4 bold new ways New York is going clean and green

Denmark plans ‘Silicon Valley’ on 9 artificial islands off Copenhagen

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

A win-win strategy for private equity deals

Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll

5 libraries doing innovative things to help their communities

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

Smart devices must come with trust already installed

Reusable packaging: 6 benefits beyond sustainability

Commission: Gifts of €6 billion and free trainees to ‘help’ poor employers

Air pollution could be responsible for 1 in 7 new cases of diabetes

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into PKN Orlen’s proposed acquisition of Lotos

Community Manager – 1289

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

How to turn Africa’s manufacturing sector into a high-tech powerhouse

5 lessons for the future success of virtual and augmented reality

What makes a great CEO? The people they surround themselves with

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s