United Kingdom, Ireland and Iceland top new European ranking on tobacco control, while Austria, Germany and Luxembourg are at bottom

Porto – Portugal, March 23 2017: The new Tobacco Control Scale launched today at the 7th European Conference on Tobacco or Health (ECToH) shows United Kingdom as a fourth time winner while three countries, Austria, Germany and Luxembourg continue to disappoint with extremely poor scores.

A new ranking report describes the results of a survey of tobacco control activity in 35 European countries in 2016. The tobacco control scale quantifies the implementation of tobacco control policies at country level, and is based on six policies described by the World Bank, which they say should be prioritised in a comprehensive tobacco control programme.

The new ranking was presented at the 7th European Conference on Tobacco or Health ( in Porto by Luk Joossens of the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL).  Countries spend less than 2 Euros per capita on tobacco control.

“This is wonderful news that Portugal has become green in the new ranking, but it is a cautious green and we shall continue our efforts to not fall back into red. I strongly believe that by collaborating with the Health Ministry, we will be able to climb higher in the ranks!” says Vitor Veloso, MD, President of the Portuguese League hosting this 7th ECToH, and Vice-President of ECL.

Dr Sakari Karjalainen, President of ECL, welcomes the ranking update as “an important policy tool in encouraging countries to strengthen their weak spots in tobacco control.”

The Russian Federation was included in our survey for the first time and was doing well in advertising restrictions and smoke free policies, but the score attributed to prices was low. Romania made spectacular progress jumping to 7th place from 19th in 2013.

“Overall, countries which failed to undertake new initiatives lost points and fell in the ranking. The countries that are leading tobacco control in Europe are those that have comprehensive tobacco control policies,” states Luk Joossens, the main author of the report.

Six countries (UK, France, Ireland, Hungary, Norway and Slovenia) adopted plain packaging legislation, although only the UK and France had plain packs at the point of sales on 1 January 2017.

Since 2013, nine countries have introduced a smoking ban in private cars when minors are present. (Ireland, UK, France, Finland, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia).

The full report can be downloaded at