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Smoking Prevention in Action: Smoke Free Partnership Coalition Operating Grant 2017 [SFP SGA 2017] [747248] - Operating Grant
Project abstract

The overarching goal of the SFP Coalition’s multi-annual work programme is to improve the health of EU citizens and reduce health inequalities by promoting smoking prevention at EU and Member State level with a special focus on measures that prevent the uptake of smoking by young people.
The work plan for 2017 will conclude the 3-year cycle of activities planned in the FPA 2015-2017 while preparing the ground for a new cycle of activities. In 2017 the main priorities will be to coordinate the civil society response to the Tobacco Tax Directive review, to promote tobacco control policy research on the political agenda, and to continue exposing and countering tobacco industry interference in policy making across all tobacco control policy areas .

Summary of context, overal objectives, strategic, relevance and contribution of the action

The SFP Coalition’s Annual Work Programme for 2017 is based on the overall multiannual work programme 2015-2017. SFP’s work in 2017 continued to focus on the achievements of the past two years and completed the SFP Coalition’s cycle of activities started in 2015, while preparing the ground for the future. As set out in the FPA proposal, the overarching goal of the SFP Coalition’s multiannual work programme is to improve the health of EU citizens and reduce health inequalities by promoting smoking prevention at EU and Member State level with a special focus on young people. During this three year period 2015-2017, SFP set four strategic objectives:

1. Promote and support smoking prevention at EU and national level through the development of advocacy strategies that deliver specific EU tobacco control policies
2. Promote and support smoking prevention at international, European and national level through the development and implementation of the FCTC, its protocols and guidelines
3. Mobilise and strengthen the capacity of European and national civil society to complement, support and add value to the policies of the EU and of the Member States
4. Strengthen SFP’s institutional capacity to enable it to meet its goal and objectives

The SFP coalition’s mission is to promote and coordinate tobacco control advocacy on priority policy areas of the FCTC at EU level and to support civil society organisations at national level in implementing tobacco control advocacy campaigns. The work plan aims to contribute to the first objective of the Third Health Programme which aims to support and complement Member States' efforts by promoting health, preventing diseases, and fostering supportive environments for healthy lifestyles.

Methods and means

All the SFP activities and outputs that were carried out in 2017 are described in details in this report and were supported by different methods and means based on our organisation’s values and work principles;
- our Mission is to fight to prevent the death and suffering caused by tobacco. To achieve this mission we mobilise stakeholders and decision makers to make tobacco control a political priority in Europe; we advocate for evidence-based tobacco control policies, we engage health organisations, researchers and international networks to strengthen the global response to tobacco and we call for the implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Europe to contribute to ending the global tobacco pandemic.

Our values are
- Evidence based. Our work draws its strength from peer-reviewed science, expert advice, and the evidence-based guidelines for implementing the WHO FCTC.
- Solution oriented. Drawing on our expertise in European policy and politics, we provide the most effective means to respond to immediate priorities and to shape the long term policy agenda.
- Part of a global network. We recognise that the tobacco pandemic is driven by a global industry and requires global cooperation and a coordinated response.
- Consensus oriented. As part of a global community, we draw on a wide range of views and expertise to reach consensus on priorities and policies, enabling us and our partners to speak with one voice.
- Part of health in all policies. Tobacco control contributes to reducing health inequalities and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

The methods that we used in 2107 included the development of factsheets, mythbuster documents, briefings, position papers, events and conferences, reports, website updates, joint Coalition letters, press releases & statements, various toolkits, newsletters, emails, presentations during conferences at European and national level, Facebook page updates and Twitter feeds.

Work performed during the reporting period

SFP successfully achieved all of its specific objectives. In particular we continued to raise awareness and support the ratification of the International Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products and the adoption of the EU standards for a tracking and tracing system for tobacco products in the EU; build capacity and coordinate civil society preparation and response to the possible revision of the Tobacco Tax Directive 2011/64/EC; raise awareness amongst policy makers and build civil society capacity on FCTC article 20 (Tobacco research policies). We also continued to raise awareness of the FCTC Article 5.3 regarding the protection of public policy from tobacco industry interference and to strengthen our Coalition membership with two additional Main partners (Belgium Foundation against Cancer and the Norwegian Cancer Society), 1 additional Associate Partner (La Ligue contre le cancer ) and 8 additional coalition partners (Association „Health Mission“ (Serbia); European CanCer Organisation (ECCO); the Institute for Public Health of the Republic of Macedonia; THE International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies (AIM); Juventas (Montenegro); Kom op tegen Kanker (Belgium); THE Serbian Society for the Fight Against Cancer and Unfairtobacco (Germany. This would not have been possible without the commitment, knowledge and skills of the SFP Board, the SFP team and the SFP coalition members as well as the numerous Experts that worked with us thought out the year.

The main output achieved so far and their potential impact and use by target group (including benefits)

(WP1 and 2) Operational objective 1: TPD implementation and OO2: Art 11&13 FCTC
- Press release: Standardised Packaging of Tobacco to be signed into law, to come into force in September Part of efforts to have Ireland tobacco free by 2025
- Slovenia adopts plain packaging
- Tobaksfacta produces film on Sweden's implementation of the EU's Tobacco Products Directive

(WP3)Operational objective 3: Smokefree policy
- Updated smokefree map an online interactive tool providing information on the latest policy developments on tobacco and e-cigarette smokefree regulations- across EU member states and six neighbouring countries
- SFP and EPHA jointly call on the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs to maintain and enforce the smoke-free legislation in Austria
- Czech Republic enforces smoking ban after years of debate
- New law banning smoking in public places approved by the Czech Parliament and the President

(WP4) Operational objective 4: Tax
- SFP Press release: Tobacco tax directive review – SFP calls for more focus on health
- Prevent20
- Press release: Ukraine approves a 7-year plan for increasing taxes on cigarettes: benefits and challenges.
- Press release: ASH Welcomes New Tobacco Control Plan for England: Funding needed for it to succeed
- Cancer Research UK: Cutting smoking rates could save the NHS £67 million a year
- Press Release: The smoking prevalence among young people has been reduced by 28% – Kyiv International Institute of Sociology

(WP5) Operational objective 5: illicit trade
- High level conference warns EU against handing the tobacco industry control of the EU’s tracking and tracing system of tobacco products
- SFP comments on Implementing Regulation on a Traceability System for Tobacco Products, Delegated Regulation on Data Storage Contracts and Implementing Decision on Security Features.
- Adoption of the EU system for tracking and tracing, the civil society remains cautious

(WP6) Operational objective 6: Article 5.3 FCTC
- Press Statement: Health groups unite to condemn BAT sponsored conference
- Press release: New products, old tactics: tobacco industry promotes both smoking and alternatives to smoking, PMI employs “consultant” to promote its heat-not burn product
- World No Tobacco Day 2017: Implementation of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control highlighted as political priority globally
- SFP’s letter raises concern over the Tobacco Industry’s interference in Romania’s participation to Europalia 2019
- SFP briefing: Tobacco industry presence in the EU policy-making environment
- Implementation of measures to prevent and address tobacco industry interference in policy - European status
- Lithuanian tobacco control organisations sign a consensus position to protect tobacco control policy from interference of the tobacco industry

(WP6) Operational objective 7: Tobacco control Research
- 20 June 2017: High level conference on tobacco and research

(WP) International trade:
- Joint Statement: CETA is an unhealthy deal: lessons to be learnt for future EU trade policy

(WP7-8) Strategic objective 3 (operational objectives 8 – Coalition capacity building and 9 – Coalition governance)
- SFP News Update March 2017
- SFP Coalition Meeting 2017
- SFP News Update September 2017
- SFP signs on joint NGO statement on health sustainability in trade and investment agreements
- Tobacco control bill adopted by the government of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Achieved outcomes compared to the expected outcomes

At the end of a successful year, SFP counts among its accomplishments the operation of the Coalition into an effective advocacy network; the stabilisation of its team and its capacity (in size and skills) to deliver a complex and ambitious work programme and the increased capacity to advocate on complex, technical issues such as tobacco taxation, illicit trade, as well as on politically delicate issues such as tobacco industry interference; The participation of the member coaltion to EU civil dialogues was achieved. Finally, the independent evaluation of our work contracted to the University of Stirling should available in 2108 Q2. In addition SFP self-evaluated against the indicators part of the work programme. The results indicate that all targets were achieved.

In particular:
- Our work on TPD and Article 11&13 FCTC implementation (warning labels, plain packaging, POS display and advertising restrictions) aims to prevent youth uptake of smoking by reducing the appeal of tobacco packaging and displays. Warning labels as well as POS measures cover virtually the entire population, as everyone is exposed to packaging, and can be prevented from being exposed to point of sale promotion.
- Smokefree policies are proven to reduce exposure of vulnerable groups such as children, to reduce overall consumption of tobacco, to reduce the likelihood of young people to take up smoking, and have also shown reductions in smoking-related harm in smokers themselves. In 2017 the proportion of EU population covered by adequate protection from second hand smoke has increased with the implementation of the Czech smoking ban, and will further grow if the challenge to Austria’s ban is defeated in 2018.
- Tobacco taxation is the most effective single tobacco control policy, which has been successfully used to reduce the uptake of smoking in young people and promote quitting. Tobacco price policies are particularly effective in lower-income groups. In addition, measures against illicit trade in tobacco reduce the availability of cheap products as an alternative to the legal market; illicit trade undermines the effectiveness of public health and taxation policies as well as depriving governments of excise duty payments. In 2017, a major increase in taxes was adopted in Ukraine; a new increase was adopted in the UK and Ireland; France also announced a high tax increase at the end of 2017. This means that over 150 million people will be better protected from tobacco harm through less affordable tobacco products.
- Illicit tobacco trade undermines public health policies as well as government revenues. For this reason, the adoption of an EU tracking and tracing system is a major development which will help reduce the supply of illegal tobacco in all EU Member States.
- Reducing the tobacco industry’s ability to interfere in policy making remains an important strategy to strengthen public health policy and support the adoption of effective tobacco control policies. While this does not directly impact the general public, it does enhance the impact of all tobacco control policies that are adopted, without being weakened of delayed by industry interference.

Dissemination and evaluation activities carried out so far and their major results

SFP materials and activities are being promoted via media such as the SFP website ( and social media networks, especially Facebook and twitter. Confidential materials are distributed via the mailing list directly to the SFP Coalition partners. The strength of this approach is that it ensures that all SFP Coalition partners, and very often also other public health organisations, work together and campaign with one voice at EU and national levels. Letters regarding EU or national policies were sent directly to their recipients without further publication but without an expectation of confidentiality.
The main strength of SFP’s dissemination activities is the very specific and direct targeting of communications to achieve its advocacy objective. Furthermore, SFP’s coordination with the Coalition partners on shared advocacy objectives helps greatly to strengthen the voice of civil society in the policy process by ensuring all NGOs speak with one voice. As SFP sends out no materials, privately or publicly, without an advocacy objective in mind, the dissemination activities concentrate on the necessary and useful. This strengthens the reputation of SPF with its partners and stakeholders as an organisation that is evidence based, aware of timings, processes and information needs. And this, as a consequence, delivers very good advocacy results.
SFP took steps to ensure that:
• written materials and policy asks were timely, evidence-based and fit for purpose, while always pursuing clear and defined advocacy objectives.
• participation in conferences and events, as participants and as speakers, was discussed in advance to be as relevant as possible while pursuing the representation of SFP as a leading, world-recognised expert organisation.
• organisation of conferences and events was precise, timely, and efficient.
• communication with Coalition partners was effective and action-oriented, including clear explanations and timetables for desired actions.
• interactions with policy-makers were transparent, clear and to the point.
• cooperation with other organisations was appropriate to the objectives used and in line with SFP’s mission and objectives.
SFP takes a careful approach to ensuring quality by balancing the need for adequate, timely responses, with the need for accuracy and quality control. This occasionally requires diverting staff from other work to support pressing deadlines, or taking longer to ensure the best possible quality. SFP also ensures that staff cross-checks each other’s work and that senior staff is always involved in quality control at the final stages of the work. We believe that this flexible and goal-oriented approach has greatly contributed to SFP’s success in 2017, as it did in previous years.

Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2017
Duration: 12 month(s)
Current status: Finalised
Programme title: 3rd Health Programme (2014-2020)
EC Contribution: € 485 095,00
Portfolio: Tobacco