The countries with the most legislation on tobacco control are more accepting of the new regulations on tobacco products

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This is one of the conclusions of the study conducted by researchers from UIC Barcelona and published in the prestigious journal Preventive Medicine.The work shows that adding pictorial health warnings to tobacco packaging is the most widely accepted option among the societies of counties with the most legislation on tobacco control.

There is currently a lack of up-to-date information at a European level as to which tobacco product regulations have the greatest societal support and are therefore more likely to be effective. In this sense, it is worth noting that the success of these new regulations often hinges on the extent to which they are supported by part of the population.

Taking this premise as a starting point, the Health Determinants and Health Policies Assessment Research Group at UIC Barcelona performed a study whose findings could help governments allocate funds for tobacco control with a view to implementing the Tobacco Products Directive at the same level in all European Union countries.

In the words of Dr Cristina Lidón-Moyano, the project’s lead author, “the study shows that there are major differences in the levels of tobacco control legislation among European countries, with the United Kingdom being the most restrictive and Austria the country with the least amount of control over tobacco consumption. After the United Kingdom, Spain is among the countries with the most legislation.”

The results of the work also shed light on the tobacco product regulations that have the greatest acceptance among members of society, including non-smokers, former smokers and smokers. In this regard, adding pictorial health warnings to tobacco packaging is the measure with the greatest support, followed by increased duties on tobacco. The study also indicates a positive correlation between tobacco control measures and support for the new regulations. As a result, the conclusions of this study strengthen the implementation of new tobacco control initiatives in member countries, such as generic packaging, aimed at curtailing the normalisation of tobacco use in European society.