News from EMASH

Portugal: the 7th Portuguese EMASH congress on tobacco or health with international participation has been successfully held in Coimbra on 21-22 October under the theme: TOBACCO USE BY WOMEN. As usual it was organized by Dr. Luisa Costa of the medical school at the University of Coimbra.

Topics covered were:- Highlights on the World No-Tobacco Day; – Why do women smoke? ; - Epidemiology of tobacco use ; – Gender characteristics in the initiation and continuation of tobacco use; – Effects of smoking during pregnancy; – Smoking by pregnant adolescents ; –Effects of smoking on the female skin ; – Tobacco and sexuality ; – Tobacco and menopause ; – Smoking cessation interventions in clinical practice  ; – Treatment of smoking during pregnancy ;– How to develop a research programme in populations of smokers. Details can be obtained from Dr. Luisa Costa at <>

The opening ceremony was attended by representatives of institutions including the Ministry of health, the Regional health administration, the Portuguese cancer institute, the Portuguese league against cancer, the Portuguese association of hospital doctors, and the Portuguese institute against tobacco.

Among the international speakers, Prof. Manfred Neuberger from the Dept. of Preventive Medicine at the University of Vienna presented data on “The failure of partial smoking bans in Austria, highlighting problems with implementation of total bans in spite of the fact that Austria has ratified the WHO FCTC. Such problems are related to numerous political and economic factors including interferences by: the ministry of finances,  the chamber of commerce, conservative parties supporting free trade (WTO stronger than WHO), marketing and advertising business, sponsoring of political parties and of media, distribution of newspapers via tobacco shops, hiring handicapped people in sedentary jobs as tobacconists etc.  As a result, smoking prevalence in the country increased in males from 27% in 1972 to 31% in 2007 and in females from 10 to 19%. The tobacco advertising is targeting kids: while in 1987 only 5% of 15-year-old girls and 10% of the boys smoked, in 2007 they were both at 25%. Clearly, stronger action is needed. 

Source : European Medical Association on Smoking or Health, Year 17, N° 70; Fall/Winter 2010

President: Roberto Masironi (Geneva):