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CETA could lead to an increase in consumption of tobacco products

Follow the links below to find out why it’s dangerous

Why could CETA increase consumption of tobacco products?

CETA could lead to an increase in consumption of tobacco products in different ways. Firstly, by increasing their availability, affordability or attractiveness through the removal of  EU tariffs on tobacco products. Secondly, Investment Court System (ICS) mechanisms could affect the freedom of governments to introduce new and stricter policies on tobacco control

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CETA could increase the societal cost of tobacco

Tobacco is a legal product on the market, but is no ordinary commodity in the sense that it is the largest avoidable health threat in the EU, responsible for almost 700,000 premature deaths per year. Tobacco is a major risk factor for all four major non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes), which account for almost 86% of premature mortality (death before the age of 70) and 77% of the disease burden in Europe.[1]

Close to 13 million people in the EU (EU-27) suffer from one or more of the six main disease categories that are associated with smoking. These are:

  • Bronchitis and other lower respiratory infections;
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD);
  • Stroke, heart attacks, arterial obstructions (especially in the legs) and other cardiovascular diseases;
  • Asthma;
  • Lung cancers;
  • Other cancers, such as pancreas, oesophagus, and stomach.[2]

[1] WHO Europe (2014). Prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the European Region: a progress report

[2] Source: the ‘ASPECT’ study: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/Tobacco/Documents/tobacco_fr_en.pdf

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CETA may increase the Economic burden of tobacco

The huge bill imposed on health systems, economic development and society by tobacco is well recognised. [1]  Cardio-vascular disease is the leading cause of death accounting for 40% of all deaths in the EU,[2] with estimated costs to the EU economy of €196 billion per year.[3] Annual EU public healthcare expenditure on treating smoking attributable diseases is estimated around 25.3 billion € and society loses 8.3 billion € per annum due to productivity losses (including early retirements/deaths and absenteeism) linked to smoking.[4]

Evidence collected on the tobacco- related monetary costs in the USA shows the total annual public and private health care expenditures caused by smoking are approximately $170 [147€] billion. The annual health care expenditures solely from second-hand smoke exposure are 6.03$ [522€] billion productivity losses caused by smoking each year account for 151$ [131€] billion.[5]

Tariffs are currently a major factor in the retail price of tobacco and thus a key determinant of consumption.  At present, there are a range of EU tariff rates applied to tobacco, which range from 10.0% to 57.60%. [6]

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Tobacco is a legal product on the market, but it is also the largest avoidable health threat in the EU.

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Tobacco makes up 77% of the disease burden in Europe

Deaths caused by tobacco every year in Europe

What can governments do to tackle tobacco use?

Taxes are effective tools to curb the global tobacco epidemic. This is the core message of the World Health Organization (WHO) 2015 report on tobacco launched this month. Tobacco-related diseases claim more lives than HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Revenues raised from tobacco taxes can be earmarked for additional tobacco control and public health measures. Sadly, tackling tobacco use is not possible unless governments are able to stand up to the powerful voice of the tobacco industry.

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The Unhealthy Side Effects of CETA

The EU recently concluded a new free trade deal with Canada – the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA for short. The deal has considerable side effects for people and public policy making. It has the potential to undermine public health by opening the...