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Historical archive

State Secretary Pledges Comprehensive Effort to Lead Tobacco Control Efforts in Europe

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Health and Care Services

- State secretary Roger Ingebrigtsen in the Ministry of Health and Care Services today announced a commitment to a comprehensive strategy and plan to reduce tobacco use in Norway and to regain the leadership role it once had in fighting Norway’s leading cause of preventable illness and death. This announcement followed the completion of an in-country assessment completed this week by the World Health Organization (WHO) in cooperation with the Norwegian government.

-  State secretary Roger Ingebrigtsen in the Ministry of Health and Care Services today announced a commitment to a comprehensive strategy and plan to reduce tobacco use in Norway and to regain the leadership role it once had in fighting Norway’s leading cause of preventable illness and death.  This announcement followed the completion of an in-country assessment completed this week by the World Health Organization (WHO) in cooperation with the Norwegian government.


More than one in five, or 800,000 Norwegians still smoke, and each year, 6,700 Norwegians are killed because of smoking.  Additionally, nearly 100,000 young people also smoke. A study published in 2004 suggested that 130,000 children from 0-12 are exposed to second hand smoke.


While Norway was the first country to become party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), one of the first in the world to enact a comprehensive tobacco control act, and ahead of many other countries with intensive activities in the first half of the 2000’s, the rates of decline of smoking have slowed significantly in the past five years, suggesting there are inadequate efforts in tobacco control.  


The State Secretary said: “I would like to thank our colleagues at WHO for working closely with our team over the past week to take a critical look at Norway’s tobacco control efforts and to assist us as we redouble our efforts to stop this epidemic.  We cannot rest on our past success.  There is too much unfinished business. We must do more and in doing so, we will prevent new generations of smokers.” 


Several strong evidence-based recommendations have emerged from our discussions with WHO,  Roger Ingebrigtsen continued:  “We will begin to follow this advice immediately by asking the Directorate to develop a comprehensive plan on cessation and to include a mass media strategy as part of our comprehensive plan on tobacco control. We are committed to several other areas recommended and fully intend to meet our obligations under the FCTC treaty.”


In its assessment, WHO noted several key findings that demand immediate attention and a long term strategy:

  • Norway is not meeting its obligations under the Treaty
  • Unsystematic and inadequate cessation services
  • Current smoke-free legislation falls short; it does not fully protect people from secondhand smoke
  • An absence of mass media campaigns for several years
  • Mechanism for monitoring enforcement of existing tobacco regulations are lacking
  • Sales to minors of tobacco products are minimally regulated
  • There is no monitoring of tobacco industry marketing and sponsorship
  • Resources directed to tobacco control are inadequate

WHO also had several key recommendations:

  • Strengthen cessation knowledge and services
  • Close the loopholes in smokefree law to make Norway 100% smokefree
  • Recommit to running best practice, graphic mass media campaigns warning of dangers
  • Monitor new forms of tobacco marketing and activities of the industry as a whole
  • Create a licensing system to regulate the sale of tobacco products
  • Provide more human and financial services for tobacco control

The government is expected to issue a new National Strategy for Tobacco Control for the next five years in 2011.  There is already a process underway for developing a new proposal for stricter regulatory measures (example, limiting sales to minors by raising the age to buy tobacco products.  

Report:
WHO: Joint National Capacity Assessment on the Implementation of Effective Tobacco Control Policies in Norway (PDF)

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