Letters Chronic disease to top agenda

Beware tobacco companies’ spurious financial arguments

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1145 (Published 22 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1145
  1. Constantine I Vardavas, visiting research scientist1,
  2. Panagiotis K Behrakis, president2,
  3. Gregory N Connolly, professor1
  1. 1Center for Global Tobacco Control, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02215, USA
  2. 2European Network on Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) and Harvard School of Public Health
  1. vardavas{at}hsph.harvard.edu

Despite the economic and health related gains of smoke-free legislation, those who oppose such legislation have suggested that it affects the revenue from the hospitality industry. Countries whose economies are under financial strain, such as Greece and Spain, are vulnerable to such pressure, and efforts should be made to stress that smoke-free legislation has no such effects.1 2

Actions such as those seen in Greece, Cyprus, and the Netherlands to pressurise governments into softening smoking legislation because of financial implications do not reflect regional peculiarities but are well organised campaigns by the tobacco industry, which knows no borders.3 Just as the euro as a currency depends on common EU activities, tobacco control across Europe depends on the actions of each member state. A common front is therefore imperative to protect the population’s wellbeing. Resistance to such pressure should be strengthened at the EU and international level.

Whether it is Greece, Spain, or Ireland, the forces attempting to undermine public health are the same. Health is a fundamental right of EU members that knows no divisions and should not be subservient to the economic development of manufacturers of products that deny their EU customers the fundamental right to a long and healthy life.


Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1145


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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