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On World NO Tobacco Day the ESC urges governments to spread smoking bans & tax tobacco

A month after Spain implemented its smoking ban in January 2006, tobacco companies dropped their prices in an attempt to keep their customers smoking. The result was that Spaniards were able purchase a packet of cigarettes for just 1.85 euros, 26 percent less than before the smoking ban. It was the lowest price in years and led to debates about whether the ban was useful.

In fact, while there is always controversy before a ban is implemented; time has shown that they are extremely effective in curbing smoking, as illustrated by the tobacco companies' battle to retain their customers.

On World No Tobacco Day, the European Society of Cardiology would like to urge government officials to protect their citizens by implementing comprehensive smoking bans and imposing high taxes on tobacco products.

"One of the objectives of the ESC is to decrease the number of smokers in Europe, which will reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease," said ESC President Michal Tendera. "To accomplish this we need the cooperation of politicians who can implement legislation that protects those who do not smoke from passive smoking, and that imposes high tax on cigarettes. Smoking bans and tobacco taxes, introduced in several European countries, have proven to be extremely effective in reducing the number of smokers."

Opponents of smoking bans base their arguments on economics and personal freedom. But these arguments ignore some basic facts: Smoking is one of the most significant contributors to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CVD costs the European Union 169 billion annually -- 230 for every man, woman and child in the EU. It took up 12 percent of all the healthcare expenditure, accounted for 126 million hospital bed days, 268.5 million working days lost and it severely hampered the daily activities of 4.4 million people one in every 100 EU citizens.

And, while smoking bans may inhibit those who smoke, they provide freedom for those who do n
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Contact: Lisa Abdolian
labdolian@escardio.org
33-049-294-8627
European Society of Cardiology
30-May-2006


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