It is possible to have a lobby of ordinary people to contrast the powerful tobacco industry?
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Salute Donna, Patients' Association, Italy
Tobacco Control Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Italy
Salute Donna, Italy
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A134
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The action of the lobbies of tobacco and cigarette companies are trying to influence political decision against tobacco at every level. The Smoke Free Partnership produced a document that calculate the direct cost of tobacco industry interference in the EU policy making environment. In 2017 Cigarettes Companies direct spent € 8-10.1 million for lobbies activities; € 2.6-4.1 on consultancy; they paid for 110 fulltime staff and they obtain 37 accreditations in EU institutions. We have this data from the Transparency Register that permit to identify and measure the representation of tobacco industry interest in the EU policy making environment. But what happens at country level, in our case, Italy?

Our Patients’ Association, Salute Donna, try to establish a national initiative to act like a lobby for all cancer patients. We connect in Rome 21 patient associations with a political program to present to Italian Parliament: 1) Prevention of cancer: enforcement of actions to promote stop smoking, Mediterranean diet, physical activity; 2) EB cancer screening for all the population 3) Quality Cancer Care and Treatments in all Italian regions

The program met the commitment of politicians of all the political forces elected in Italian Parliament and we obtain some important goals like the possibility to have for free all the screening test for BRCA 1 and 2 people; more money for our NHS to buy new cancer drugs, the extension of Cancer Registries to all Italy. We also asked to increase the taxation of each cigarettes pack of an important amount and to use this money for cancer research and smoking cessation. This was rejected by the Renzi government in 2017. The actual government accept to increase cigarette taxation only 10 cent for every pack.

It Is very difficult to contrast the powerful tobacco lobbies, but our project is to bring the voice of cancer patient to our Parliament for the health of Italians and we will try again to ask for cigarette, heat not burn product and e-cig taxation for Public Health.

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