Every year, the harmful effects of tobacco continue to take their toll on the health of citizens and our societies. The considerable cancer burden associated with tobacco exposure is an unfortunately well-known reality, with lung cancer accounting for around 12% of all new cancer diagnoses in the EU in 2020. It is the fourth most frequently occurring cancer, after prostate, breast, and colorectal cancers. And it is the leading cause of cancer death.
However, there is good news: lung cancer incidence and deaths have recently been decreasing in many Member States, thanks largely to smoking prevention activities and reduced tobacco consumption.
Tobacco harms not only human health. The consumption of tobacco products and the waste it produces also poses a clear threat to our environment. On this year’s World No Tobacco Day the message is clear: we must limit the impact of tobacco both on human and planetary health.
Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan presents our vision for how to create a “Tobacco Free Generation” in which less than 5% of the population uses tobacco by 2040 through stronger tobacco control actions. These actions include, among others, an update of the EU recommendations on smoke-free environments, to cover emerging products, such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, as well as expanding the smoke-free environments to outdoor spaces.
We all can bring positive change against tobacco. On this World No Tobacco Day, I call on everyone to take their health into their own hands, and call quits it on tobacco.