Petition launched to make the EU tobacco -free by 2030ACTA
A campaign is underway to gather 9,165 Irish signatures as part of an EU-wide petition to make Europe tobacco-free by 2030.
It aims to create the first tobacco-free generation to ‘save’ them from “falling into tobacco addiction, to act against related environmental dangers and against smoking”.
One million signatures are required from seven EU States in order for the European Commission to act on the proposal.
Professor Luke Clancy of the Tobacco Free Research Institute of Ireland says a tobacco-free Europe is only possible with the support of the public.
“It’s modelled, really, on the New Zealand proposition which has been introduced there, that they will stop selling tobacco to children born of a certain time”, he told Newstalk.
“Our initiative is born in 2010 or later.”
The initiative also calls on specific measures to achieve tobacco-free and cigarette butt-free beaches and riverbanks, create a European network of tobacco-free national parks and to eliminate tobacco advertising on television and social media.
Other ‘vapour-free’ public spaces would be extended too.
The Government has said there are no plans for national smoking bans in parks and beaches.
If this European Citizens’ Initiative receives one million statements of support within the year from at least seven different member states, the Commission will have to react.
Irish people can sign the petition at the European Citizens’ initiative page on the EU Commission web page.
The Commission could decide to take the request forward or not, and will be required to explain its reasoning.
A smokers’ rights organisation says it would be “absurd” for Ireland to copy New Zealand and ban young people buying cigarettes.
“Banning adults from buying tobacco – banning anyone from buying tobacco – just drives demand into the hands of the illicit trade”, John Mallon of the organisation Forest said.
“The illicit trade will happily sell tobacco in units of 200 – so you can smoke much more – and you’ll get it at half price.
“It seems silly that you would drive it in that direction.”