Smoking Causes 15% of EU Deaths Daily cost of Cardiovascular Diseases estimated €463 Million May 31st “World No Tobacco Day”
(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) (LSE:PFZ) welcomes the European Commission’s 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 world’s leading life sciences company submitted its recommendations on the questions raised in the Commission’s 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:
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, Pfizer’s 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.”
1“Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level”, published on January 30, 2007
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/
Oliver Stohlmann, +43 664 3350485