Smoking is prevalent across Europe, but the severity and stage of the smoking epidemic, and policy responses to it, vary substantially between countries. Much progress is now being made in prohibition of paid-for advertising and in promotion of smoke-free policies, but mass media campaigns are widely underused, provision of services for smokers trying to quit is generally poor, and price policies are undermined by licit and illicit cheap supplies. Monitoring of prevalence is inadequate in many countries, as is investment in research and capacity to address this largest avoidable cause of death and disability across Europe. However, grounds for optimism are provided by progress in implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and in the development of a new generation of nicotine-containing devices that could enable more widespread adoption of harm-reduction strategies. The effect of commercial vested interests has been and remains a major barrier to progress.
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