De Engelse EuroparlementariŽr Godfrey Bloom stelde de Eurocommissaris voor Volksgezondheid, Vassiliou, een simpele vraag:
"Noem me eens drie of vier mensen die de afgelopen 2 jaar aantoonbaar zijn overleden aan meeroken?"
De Eurocommissaris antwoordde met een vaag verhaal over epidemiologie, maar kon geen namen noemen.
On 9 June 2008 Godfrey Bloom addressed the European Commission the following written question with reference to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS):
According to the Commission Green Paper "Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level", more than, "79,000 adults" die in the EU per annum from the effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS).
This claim is the driver behind the proposals by the Commission to bring in a binding Directive later this year to enforce smoking bans in workplaces.
Given that the impact that such a Directive will be considerable, both economically and socially, could the Commission please name three or four people who have died from ETS within the European Union in the last two years?
On 18 july 2008 Ms Vassiliou commissioner for health came with an answer on behalf of the Commission:
The Green Paper 'Towards a Europe free from tobacco smoke: policy options at EU level", refers to the estimates of mortality attributable to passive smoking in the EU reported by Smoke-free Partnership in Lifting the Smoke-screen: 10 reasons for a smoke-free Europe. These estimates are based on the international evidence on the level of risk posed by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and the estimated proportion of the population exposed rather than individual cases of deaths due to passive smoking. The nature of the epidemiological evidence on all risk factors, be they chemical or other, is such that it does not allow to identify the victims at individual level but only populations.
The Commission is now considering several possible policy options including a possible proposal for a Council recommendation as a follow-up of the Green Paper.
The Impact Assessment currently being carried out will provide a basis for the final policy choice. It will also provide further information on the impact of exposure to ETS on health. "
1 COM (2007) 0027 final
Jamrozik K., "An estimate of deaths attributable to passive smoking in Europe", Lifting the smokescreen: 10 reasonn smoke-free Europe, Smokefree Partnership (February 2006).
To which Godfrey Bloom responded:
Thank you for your response. For press purposes I can therefore take the answer "None". Obviously I am only interested in facts not speculation by interested parties, either the Commission or the Tobacco Industry.
Office of Godfrey Bloom MEP