01.09.2011 An eventful year for tobacco prevention

2010 Annual Report on the National Tobacco Programme 2008–2012 (NPT 2008–2012). 2010 was an eventful year for tobacco prevention in Switzerland. The most significant milestone was the Federal Law on protection against passive smoking that came into force on 1 May. A large number of other measures were implemented at various levels. Below is a review of the most important developments.

Pictures An eventful year for tobacco prevention


The Federal Law on protection against passive smoking came into force on 1 May 2010. Since that day, spaces which are open to the public or provide a workplace for more than one person have been smoke-free. The new law is a major bonus in terms of health and a significant contribution towards achieving the third main goal of the National Tobacco Programme 2008–2012 (NPT 2008–2012), namely reducing exposure to passive smoke. An online survey was carried out in November 2010 to find out what initial experience with implementing the federal law had been and whether there were any problems. The results will be published during 2011. We already know, however, that exposure to passive smoking decreased in several cantons in 2009, even before the federal law came into effect. This was due not least to the fact that many cantons had already enacted cantonal regulations to this effect. The federal law is a minimum requirement that is valid throughout the country, and the cantons are free to implement more stringent regulations in the interests of protecting health. Fifteen cantons have made use of this option.

Start of the SmokeFree campaign
The new campaign was developed last year by the FOPH’s Campaigns Section in collaboration with the Tobacco Section and the agency Wirz Werbung AG. It went public on 10 January 2011. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) reviewed the latest research findings, the evaluation of previous campaigns and the goals of the NPT 2008–2012 and decided to opt for a new approach. The new campaign highlights the benefits and the pleasure of not smoking. The campaign is being paid for from the Tobacco Control Fund. It will be evaluated during 2011 and the results will be presented to the newly created NPT Communication flanking group (see next section). The hub of the multimedia campaign is the www.smokefree.ch website. This also provides an interface to the behavioural prevention-related programmes/projects being implemented by the FOPH’s partners, including the national stop-smoking telephone hotline that is a prominent feature of communication activities.

One goal – many voices
The NPT Communication (NPTC) flanking group was established in 2010 with the aim of liaising with the partners in prevention and facilitating an exchange of views on communication issues. In 2010 the group reviewed the year and perspectives and, above all, discussed protection against passive smoking and the SmokeFree campaign. In keeping with the principle «One goal – many voices», the partners are an indispensable element of this national multi-year project, and information exchange and cohesion are important success factors. The standing members of the NPTC flanking group are: the FOPH, the Swiss Lung League, the Swiss Cancer League, the Federal Commission for Tobacco Control, the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health, the Swiss Association for Smoking Prevention, RADIX and Addiction Info Switzerland.

More news
A lot of other things have been happening in tobacco prevention apart from the new Federal Law on protection against passive smoking, the new campaign and the NPTC flanking group:
– Frightening pictures and the stop-smoking line: Since 1 January 2010, all packs of cigarettes and other tobacco products have displayed pictures designed to discourage smoking next to the warning text. All packs also mention the national stop-smoking line.
– Tax on tobacco raised 20 cents: The Federal Council increased the tax levied on cigarettes by 20 cents per pack with effect from 1 January 2011. Tax hikes on tobacco are among the most effective preventive measures.
– Information about nicotine-free e-cigarettes: Nicotine-free e-cigarettes are a consumer item and are not covered by the Federal Law on protection against passive smoking. The updated information leaflet (No. 146) on this subject is available on the FOPH website.
– Start of the Swiss addiction monitoring programme: The Tobacco Monitoring Switzerland became part of the new Addiction Monitoring in Switzerland at the end of 2010. From 2011 the data on tobacco use will be generated by the Addiction Monitoring in Switzerland. The aim of the new programme is to collate data on all types of addiction (including non-substance-related addictions such as internet use) in one project to facilitate comparison.
– Focus on strategic leadership: In 2010, the strategic leadership of the NPT 2008–2012 carried out an evaluation of the function, roles of and interactions between the individual stakeholders. The results are currently being analysed and potential optimisation scenarios are being developed.
– Reorganisation at the FOPH: In 2010 the former Alcohol and Tobacco Section was split into two separate sections for organisational reasons. The new Head of the Tobacco Section is Joëlle Pitteloud.  

Lots of new things happened last year and there were a lot of developments. But the goals of the NPT 2008–2012 have not yet been achieved. For example, 15 percent of people between the ages of 14 and 65 are still exposed to passive smoking for at least seven hours per week. In recent years, however, the efforts of everyone involved have brought the objectives within reach.

Main goals of the National Tobacco Programme to the end of 2012

1. The proportion of smokers in the resident population of Switzerland must drop by 20%, i.e. from 29% (2007) to about 23%.
2. The proportion of smokers in the 14 to 19 age group must drop by 20%, i.e. from 24% (2007) to less than 20%.
3. The proportion of people who are exposed for seven hours or more per week to other people’s smoke (passive smoking) must drop by 80%, i.e. from 27% (2006) to about 5%.


Joëlle Pitteloud, Head of Tobacco Section, joelle.pitteloud@bag.admin.ch

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