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ESC press statement : Cigarettes on sale on the internet
Date:10/16/2009

The European Society of Cardiology wishes to comment on media reports this week that France is preparing to authorise the sale of cigarettes on the internet, to conform to European rights. Although Budget Minister Eric Woerth denies that this is the intention, the news is disappointing given the drop in heart attack rates following last year's smoking ban.

ESC spokesperson Professeur Ph.Gabriel STEG (Universit Paris VII, Centre Hospitalier Bichat-Claude Bernard, Paris) said :

"While I understand that the alleged motive is that the French government needs to align itself with the European directive and the need to tackle the monopoly of cigarette retail in France, this move contradicts years of health policy to reduce tobacco consumption.

There is clear evidence that an increase in tobacco retail price and restricted access to cigarettes have led to less people smoking, with important health benefits. The government needs to take action to continue its previous policy which tackled smoking as an effective way to improve public health."

Daily financial newpaper Les Echos broke the news on 14 October, stating that the French government would propose the idea to Parliament in mid-November. Cigarettes would be sold at retail prices in France, to prevent price undercutting on the internet. MP Eric Woerth denied that these are the government's aims, stating that "tabacco products are unique as they are directly involved in public health policy ; there are no plans to open this sector to a different type of sales market," as reported on 14 October by Le Monde.

A wave of smoking bans through Europe and the USA during this and last year has led to substantial reductions in heart attack rates, according to a study published last month in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association (1).

The analysis pooled 13 studies from regions in North America, Italy, Scotland and Ireland and found a consistent redu
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Contact: ESC Press Office
press@escardio.org
33-049-294-8627
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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