New anti-smoking campaign kicked off
Feel free to say no - with that statement the Commission wants to reach the youngsters in the European Union before they start smoking; a target group of about 36.2 million people. Studies shows that eight out of ten people who smoke start when they are b
"Let's face it, a young boy or a young girl who starts smoking and gets hooked by the nicotine, no longer has a real choice. That's why we want young people to feel free to say no to tobacco while they still have the choice", says the Commissioner of Health and Consumer Protection, David Byrne.
According to recent findings of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the age of young people experimenting with tobacco is decreasing while the rate of young smokers is increasing in all EU Member States.
Alliance with 16 football players
Therefore the Commission has made an alliance with 16 famous football player who all say no - no to smoking. Television spots with these well-known football players will be aired throughout EU during the World Cup. Media companies have provided free airtime worth some 4 million Euro.
The footballers represent 12 countries in the EU - negotiation with the last tree countries to join - Greece, Finland and UK - is still ongoing. The Commissioner hopes that through the football heroes, it will be possible to make a tobacco free lifestyle in to a cool lifestyle. The overall budget of the campaign is 18 million Euro over three years.
The EU anti-smoking campaign is one element from a broader tobacco control. A Commission proposal on tobacco advertising and sponsorship is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and the Council. It is intended to replace Directive 98/43/EC of 6 July 1998 which was been annulled by the Court of Justice of the European Communities.