Health admits 160 out of 180 charges from communities to implement anti-smoking plan.

Two weeks ago, communities asked for more time to study the Ministry of Health’s new anti-tobacco strategy. And time passed. The general directors of public health of each territory meet again this Wednesday with the team of Minister Monica Garcia in a monographic meeting, which will discuss a total of 180 amendments or proposals presented by the 17 ministries of the plan. It will be a prelude to a regional health council scheduled for Friday, which must finally approve a new road map to combat smoking in Spain, although there is no guarantee at this stage that an agreement will be reached.

Health achievements that he will receive 160 180 charges Comprehensive Tobacco Prevention and Control Plan (PIT) 2024-2027 To pave the way for consensus. However, there are about twenty suggestions that will be more difficult to adapt because they “clash” with the spirit of the strategy. Among them will be the idea of ​​the Balearic Islands, La Rioja or Aragon. Promoted by Efe, that the expansion of smoke-free outdoor spaces is voluntary or self-regulated; or Aragon’s proposal vapers In the plan, it is considered as a “harm reduction” tool – the so-called Smoking cessation – in some cases.

As for the first proposal, the roadmap the health department wants to approve does not specify which outdoor spaces will be smoke-free. The wording is sent only to “extend smoke-free areas”, although the Minister of Health has repeatedly expressed, including in a recent interview with elDiario.es, that his intention is to include terraces. “A study in Europe showed that 94% of cigarettes contain nicotine in the environment, which is inhaled by a third party. We are applying pressure, but this ministry hit the nail on the head,” he said. These outdoor spaces seem to be one of the battlegrounds not only for hotel employers’ associations, but also for some communities.

As for the accusation vapers, the ministry already announced in December its intention to specifically regulate e-cigarettes, and two months later Public Health Director General Pedro Gulón confirmed that the health intention was to bring them on par with tobacco. Harm reduction is an idea that defends proponents of these devices by arguing that they are safer and also help people quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

However, a report approved by Health and Society in 2020 stated that there is no strong evidence to support the hypothesis that they are useful for smoking cessation. In addition, according to another report by the World Health Organization, children who use these devices Three times more likely to use tobacco in the future than those who do not. According to the National Drug Plan Periodic Survey on Adolescent Addiction, one in four boys and girls aged 12 and 13 have used these devices in the past year.

The threat of a “political front”.

Among the demands of the communities are also tax incentives for declaring more outdoor tobacco spaces, requesting an economic report for the strategy, funds for their dependent measures or more specifics regarding the banning of smoking in private spaces, e.g. Like cars, according to Efe.

Health and community meetings will confirm which extremes are finally included in the strategy, which should then be reflected in legal texts. That is, the plan is not a law. “Each legislative measure affecting autonomous communities must be approved in its respective forum. We are not talking about this, suddenly, when the plan is approved, all spaces will be regulated and all laws will be changed,” Gulon explained two weeks ago, when the ministry met with scientific societies and anti-smoking associations to demonstrate. that their plan—inherited in part from the previous mandate—had support.

The minister herself, Mónica García, has already sent a direct message to the communities and anticipates the “political front” that this issue could represent. “Besides stress and noise, they are responsible for health protection. “It seems very strange to me, after all the evidence, the figures and the trajectory of our country, that this particular issue with approved social consensus is used to turn it into another political front,” he told the press.

Source: El Diario

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