“The goal of our mission is to find ways for the future representatives of the people to counteract this modern “oppression” of the Bulgarians – the use of tobacco and related products, indicated the chairman of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Life Dr. Gergana Geshanova. The coalition will insist on “policies with active actions of the state, closing the loopholes in the current restrictions on the use, advertising, sponsorship and promotion of tobacco, emancipating the state from the grip of the tobacco giants”, announced the initiators of the mission.
“All political parties assure that they will work for the good of the Bulgarians, but in contrast, Bulgaria suffers from a terrible scourge – addiction to the use of tobacco, and so far in Bulgaria there has been no decisive state policy in the direction of solving these problems”, he pointed out Pavel AntonovManaging Editor, BlueLink Foundation.
Bulgaria ranks first in terms of smoking in Europe, and our country has already surpassed even Greece, which until recently was first. This message…
A review of the parties’ election manifestos by the coalition found that each manifesto had a section on health care, but the word “smoking” was missing. “Bulgaria is in first place in terms of mortality in Europe. Our population is aging, no one is teaching young people how to live healthily,” Dr. Geshanova also pointed out.
The route of the civil mission includes the main contenders for participation in the next National Assembly. Meetings have already been held with representatives of “We continue the change” and GER, and today they are coming with “Democratic Bulgaria”, talks are planned with BSP, DPS, ITN and “Bulgarian Rise” and other political formations.
As a priority request from the coalition, the implementation of Bulgaria’s commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), European and national legislation was indicated. “All our requests have been met by this convention and we want Bulgaria to fulfill its obligations,” emphasized the chairman of the Coalition.
Among the demands are to liquidate outdoor advertising of tobacco products, to ban sponsorship by tobacco companies, strict compliance with smoking bans and to expand the scope and control authorities, to raise the excise tax on tobacco products and related products.
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The coalition has prepared an analytical report “Toxic Addiction”, showing how the industry shapes policies to limit the use of tobacco products in its favor. According to its conclusions, in the absence of a clear vision and correct priorities on the part of the state and in the absence of any effort on its part to protect its population from the influence of the tobacco industry by introducing a proper regulatory framework, the expansion of markets, the replenishment of the army of smokers with new young additions and increasing industry profits, appears to be a mission entirely possible.
According to Eurostat data, 38% of Bulgarians smoke, and many more – passive smokers, family members and relatives of victims pay a heavy price for tobacco addiction. It is measured by the loss of 22,000 Bulgarian lives per year, with all the tragic consequences for the family, as well as record levels of diseases caused by this addiction, such as cardiovascular, oncological and pulmonary, the initiators of the civil mission also pointed out.
25% of 16-year-old Bulgarian children smoke, alarm Dr. Masha Gavrailova, chairman of the Association “Bulgaria without smoke” and pointed out that children in Bulgaria smoke between the ages of 11 and 13.
It is high time for the state to make a change in its policies to limit smoking, say the representatives of the coalition.