Prof. Małgorzata Balwicka-Szczyrba
Smoking is the number one cause of death for Polish men and the second most common cause for women in Poland. Nearly 29% of Poles smoke cigarettes daily, which is on an upward trend. Experts from the Polish Academy of Sciences have developed recommendations to reduce the use of nicotine products in Poland, the application of which will reduce the level of addiction among the population. Their co-author is dr hab. Małgorzata Balwicka-Szczyrba, prof. UG from the Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Gdańsk.
The Polish Academy of Sciences recommendations for 2023-2027 are contained in the study 'Reduction of cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use, particularly among the young generation of Poles'. It was produced as part of the Polish Health 2.0 project coordinated by the Public Health Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences and addresses economic, regulatory, educational, and medical issues.
Prof. Balwicka-Szczyrba from the University of Gdańsk was responsible for the legal analysis of the norms on nicotine products and recommendations in this area. The Team also included researchers from the Medical University of Gdańsk and prof. J. Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Łódź.
- 'According to the current maps of health needs for 2022-2026, the most burdensome health risk factor in Poland is tobacco, ranked first since 1990. In 2022, 28.8% of adult Poles (30.8% of men and 27.1% of women) admitted to smoking daily,' - says dr hab. Małgorzata Balwicka-Szczyrba, prof. UG from the Department of Commercial Law of the Faculty of Law and Administration UG. - 'Nicotine initiation often begins in adolescence or young adulthood - the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) conducted in 2009-2010 indicated that 36% of all smokers in Poland initiated their habit under the age of 17, and another 55% between 18 and 24.'
The authors of the recommendations point out that a significant problem is using new nicotine-containing products. Polish youth are more likely to use e-cigarettes (29.5%) than traditional cigarettes (26.2%). According to the PolNicoYouth survey, more than half of the teenagers surveyed admitted having no problems buying nicotine products.
Summary of key recommendations:
1. Reduce consumption of nicotine products through effective use of tax policy
2. Reduce the availability of nicotine products
3. Eliminate advertising and promotion of nicotine products
4. Professional and comprehensive health education aimed at reducing initiation and consumption of nicotine products
5. Initiation of a comprehensive programme of support for nicotine addicts, including minors
6. Monitoring the market for nicotine products, their use and prevention activities
7. Reducing the relationship and influence of the tobacco industry on decision-making, including harm reduction issues
Link to the full text of Recommendations and sources: