In a statement, the Sociedade Portuguesa de Pneumologia (SPP), one of the organisations involved, explains that they will have until January 15, 2024, to gather the million signatures needed to “abolish the sale of tobacco and nicotine products for the next generations”.
The project is led by the Spanish Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Nofumadores and the ENSP (European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention), in collaboration with organisations from 15 European countries, including the SPP.
The note explains that eight European citizens – including the current coordinator of the SPP smoking commission, pulmonologist Sofia Ravara – submitted the proposal to the European Commission (EC), which, “after a preliminary technical-legal assessment, approved the launch of the initiative, considering that it has powers and competences to legislate in this area and that it is in accordance with the values and legal functioning of the EU”.
For this, says the note, Nofumadores uses a participatory democracy tool, launched by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2012 - the European Citizens Initiative (ECI), which "is a unique way of contributing to the definition of policies of the European Union asking the European Commission to propose new laws”.
“Once one million signatures distributed in at least seven EU countries have been reached, the European Commission is obliged to evaluate the measures and decide whether they can enter the EU policy negotiation gear”, writes the SPP.
In the statement, the SPP explains that the objective of this ECI, dubbed Europe Without Tobacco, “is the progressive abolition of the sale of tobacco and nicotine derivatives to citizens born from 1 January 2010”.
Quoted in the statement, Raquel Fernández Megina, president of Nofumadores and organizer of the initiative in Spain, says: “By doing this, we are declaring that the sovereignty of the EU rests on the shoulders of its citizens and not on the lobbying capacity of the harmful tobacco industry.”.
The objective – defend the organizations – “is to save the next generation from this pandemic totally created by the industry”.
The petition can be found at https://eci.ec.europa.eu/029/public/#/screen/home