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Belgium flags in tobacco fight

Published on 12/10/2004

12 October 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgium is lagging behind other European countries in the fight against smoking, according to new figures out on Tuesday.

An evaluation of the efforts of 28 nations to combat smoking has shown that Belgium lies near the bottom of the league table, reported three Flemish newspapers – Het Volk, Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard.

Belgium’s low score is a result of the paltry budget spent on anti-smoking campaigns, the fact that smoking in the workplace is not yet banned and the loopholes in programmes to help smokers quit, the newspapers said.

According to the World Bank, the number of smoking victims could be slashed by introducing higher taxes on tobacco products and banning smoking in public places and at work.

Other preventative steps could include a ban on advertising, stronger warnings on cigarette packets and more help for those who want to quit smoking.

The recent evaluation gave Belgium a low score of 38 out of a 100 for smoking prevention measures.

Despite the lack of effort to get people off the killer weed, the number of Belgian smokers has dropped by a fifth since 1985.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news