Commissioner Kyprianou launches “Help” campaign in Cyprus
Nicosia, Jun 11 (CNA) – Commissioner responsible for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou launched the “Help – For a Life Without Tobacco” campaign today in Nicosia, targeting young people and adults.
The campaign, which the EU has earmarked a budget of 22 million euros, took off with the unveiling of a giant inflatable carrying the campaign’s slogan, while hundreds of orange, white and blue balloons representing the campaign’s colours covered the city centre sky as the Commissioner and his assistants were distributing information on how to fight the addiction.
Also present were Head of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus Adriaan van der Meer, Vice mayor Lia Tseriotou and Nicosia Municipality councilors.
Speaking at a press conference at the Town Hall, Kyprianou said tobacco accounts for over 650 thousand deaths every year in the 25 EU member states while the cost to the European economy is 100 billion euros per annum.
He said that the number of tobacco smokers has gone down in countries which promote intense anti-smoking campaigns, but at the same time, the age of those who start smoking has also lowered, and is now 13 years old.
For this reason, the Cypriot Commissioner said, the campaign is targeted in particular at young people (aged between 15-18) and young adults (aged 18 and 30). And it sets three priorities which are defined as smoking prevention, giving up smoking and outlining the dangers of passive smoking.
In his speech, Cypriot Health Minister Andreas Gavrielides said that 4.9 million people die annually as a result of their smoking habits and based on statistics, this number will rise to 10 million by the year 2020 and one every six adults will die as a result of smoking by the year 2030.
“We all have a duty to work and cooperate effectively to sever this fatal epidemic in the EU”, Gavrielides added.
“I believe the campaign will upgrade the Cypriot people’s sensitivity to the harmful effects of smoking and enlighten public opinion on promoting an environment free of smoking in public areas”, he added.
Minister Gavrielides assured Cyprus will cooperate with all institutions “for a Europe without smoking”.