eISSN: 2450-5722
ISSN: 2450-5927
Journal of Health Inequalities
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vol. 2
Review paper

Poland’s anti-tobacco advocacy – a historical outline

Mateusz Zatoński

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
J Health Inequal 2016; 2 (1): 26–31
Online publish date: 2016/07/29
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The post-war anti-tobacco movement in Poland was founded in 1960 in the form of the Interministerial Committee for Limiting Smoking at the Ministry of Internal Trade, which by 1964 was transformed into the Social Committee for Limiting Smoking. In 1974 the Committee was instrumental in convincing the Minister of Health to issue a decree banning smoking in healthcare facilities and in Ministry of Health offices. However, both the decree and the broader work of the Committee brought few results, as tobacco consumption in Poland increased almost fourfold, from 1000 cigarettes per adult in 1949, to 3600 cigarettes in 1979. In 1979 the Committee was transformed into the PTP – Polish Anti-tobacco Society. This energized the movement – the system of monitoring smoking trends in Poland was improved, collaboration with healthcare, educational and religious organisations was improved, and more the engagement with the media became more pronounced. However, the PTP was unsuccessful in convincing politicians to introduce comprehensive anti-tobacco legislative measures. In the 1990s the anti-tobacco movement in Poland coalesced around the Health Promotion Foundation. The Foundation ran a very successful health promotion action, The Great Polish Smoke-out, and lobbied politicians for a comprehensive anti-tobacco law. This succeeded in 1995, when the first Polish Anti-tobacco Law was passed by the Parliament, and amended in the following years. The Polish anti-tobacco legislation which, among other provisions, limited smoking in public places, and introduced the largest health warnings on cigarette packaging in the world, was called by the World Health Organisation an “example to the rest of the world”. The success of Polish anti-tobacco efforts can provide a useful blueprint for developing countries which today face similar challenges to Poland 25 years ago.

smoking, history, tobacco control, health advocacy, Poland

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