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Pfizer Supports Complete Smoking Ban in Public Areas and Improved Access to Smoking Cessation Treatments across Europe

Smoking Causes 15% of EU Deaths Daily cost of Cardiovascular Diseases estimated €463 Million May 31st “World No Tobacco Day”

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 6:30pm
EDT

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) (LSE:PFZ) welcomes the European Commissions Green Paper on smoke free environments1, which was put for public consultation earlier this year. Today in Brussels, a week before World No Tobacco Day (May 31st), the worlds leading life sciences company submitted its recommendations on the questions raised in the Commissions Paper. The Consultation will conclude on June 1st.

To effectively support millions of Europeans in their efforts to stop smoking, improve their health and prolong lives; to protect non-smokers from the damaging influence of passive smoke; and to prevent young people from taking up the habit, European decision-makers should endorse the following measures:

  • A total ban on smoking in public places as the most effective way to encourage quitting and discourage taking up smoking.
  • The introduction of binding EU legislation to implement such bans, as the most appropriate way to ensure compliance across the EU.
  • The implementation of supportive measures, such as awareness raising campaigns and increased access to cessation therapies, including funding of therapies, to maximise the impact of smoking bans.

The WHO-sponsored World No Tobacco Day also focuses on smoke-free environments this year. On its website, the World Health Organization states that the evidence demands immediate, decisive action to protect the health of all people. 100% smoke free is the only answer.2 This is further supported by Article 8 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC): Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke,2 which has been signed and ratified by the European Community.

Tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the European Union accounting for over half a million deaths each year and over a million deaths in Europe as a whole3. It is estimated that 15% of all deaths, 25% of all cancer deaths3, and 16% of all deaths from cardiovascular diseases (CVD)4 in men in the Union can be attributed to smoking.

Smoking, however, does not only kill, it costs money to EU citizens and governments: CVD alone is estimated to cost EU Member States 463 million per day, mostly due to direct healthcare costs (62%) and productivity losses (21%)4.

There is a tremendous urgency for EU Member States to introduce a comprehensive and holistic set of policies aimed at protecting their citizens by reducing tobacco use and preventing tobacco related diseases in Europe, said MD Jack Watters, Pfizers Vice President of International Medical Affairs. The urgency of these policies are recognized worldwide5 including the introduction of smoking bans as well as improved access to smoking cessation therapies for smokers motivated to quit.

In the field of smoking cessation, measures based on compromise are destined to fail. Pfizer welcomes the important process the Commission has set in motion by issuing this Green Paper. The European Union and Member States should now show the political courage to endorse the most comprehensive and all-inclusive policy options, said Watters. Pfizer will strongly support every effort that leads to better health and disease prevention in Europe.

1Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level, published on January 30, 2007

2http://www.who.int/tobacco/communications/events/wntd/2007/en/

3 European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/Tobacco/tobacco_en.htm)

4 British Heart Foundation, European Heart Network, European Cardiovascular Diseases Statistics, February 2005 - http://www.ehnheart.org/files/statistics%202005-092711A.pdf, accessed April 2007

5 See WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on the WHO Website, http://www.who.int/tobacco/framework/en/

Contact: 

Pfizer
Oliver Stohlmann, +43 664 3350485