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Smoking prevention in action: The Smoke Free Partnership Coalition [SFP SGA 2016] [709003] - Operating Grant
Project abstract

In 2015, in recognition to its achievements, SFP was awarded the prestigious Luther L. Terry Award for Exemplary Leadership in Tobacco Control for Outstanding Organisation by the American Cancer Society. In 2016, SFP will continue to live up to this recognition by striving towards the fulfilment of its three year plan objectives:

1. Promote and support smoking prevention at EU and national level through the development of advocacy strategies that deliver specific EU tobacco control policies.

2. Promote and support smoking prevention at international, European and national level through the development and implementation of the FCTC, its protocols and guidelines.
3. Mobilise and strengthen the capacity of European and national civil society to complement, support and add value to the policies of the EU and of the Member States.

4. Strengthen SFP’s institutional capacity to enable it to meet its goal and objectives.

The SFP Coalition Annual Work Programme for 2016 will reinforce SFP Coalition policy work by providing tobacco control activities and deliverables in accordance with its strategic priorities and will continue to build upon the groundwork laid down in 2015. It will also assist to achieve the final goal of the SFP Coalition’s three-year work plan which is to improve the health of EU citizens and reduce health inequalities by promoting smoking prevention at EU and Member State level with a special focus on measures that prevent the uptake of smoking by young people. This will be done through a high level of cooperation, coordination and advocacy work of SFP Coalition with advocates, academia, researchers and policy makers.

Summary of context, overal objectives, strategic, relevance and contribution of the action

The SFP Coalition’s Annual Work Programme for 2016 is based on the overall multiannual work programme 2015-2017. The second year of the multiannual plan aimed to deliver specific activities and achieve concrete deliverables, while building further foundations for advocacy in the future.

As set out in the FPA proposal, the overarching goal of the SFP Coalition’s multiannual work programme is to improve the health of EU citizens and reduce health inequalities by promoting smoking prevention at EU and Member State level with a special focus on young people.
During this three year period 2015-2017, SFP set four strategic objectives:
1. Promote and support smoking prevention at EU and national level through the development of advocacy strategies that deliver specific EU tobacco control policies
2. Promote and support smoking prevention at international, European and national level through the development and implementation of the FCTC, its protocols and guidelines
3. Mobilise and strengthen the capacity of European and national civil society to complement, support and add value to the policies of the EU and of the Member States
4. Strengthen SFP’s institutional capacity to enable it to meet its goal and objectives

The Smoke Free Partnership’s (SFP) overall mission is the effective implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). SFP works with decision makers to ensure that tobacco control receives adequate political attention at EU level and to promote tobacco control information and policy research at EU and national level, in collaboration with other EU health organisations and tobacco control networks. The SFP coalition’s mission is to promote and coordinate tobacco control advocacy on priority policy areas of the FCTC at EU level and to support civil society organisations at national level in implementing tobacco control advocacy campaigns.

The work plan aims to contribute to the first objective of the Third Health Programme which aims to support and complement Member States' efforts by promoting health, preventing diseases, and fostering supportive environments for healthy lifestyles.

Methods and means

SFP is responsible for Network coordination, technical support and budgetary management. SFP has experience in managing large European projects and, as previously explained, provided a forum for European NGOs working on smoking prevention in the form of workshops so as to establish common ground and purpose among its partners, providing a regular exchange of information, seeking co-operation with appropriate international agencies and promoting the implementation of evidence based tobacco control policies.

SFP’s work methods are based on the organisation’s values and work principles: firstly on the FCTC, which recognises that the tobacco pandemic is nurtured by a global industry which transcends national and regional boundaries, and requires a coordinated response between countries and with other regions in the world, and secondly on partnerships, as we recognise the need to work with others and to draw on a wide range of views and expertise to achieve our aims and objectives. All our activities are evidence based: our work and policy positions are independent and based on our critical review of published, peer-reviewed evidence and feedback from experts and partner organisations. Our activities are also based on efficiency and effectiveness: we deliver agreed objectives and outputs, and continually seek to improve on processes and make the best use of resources. Finally we aim to remain flexible and innovative: we work both proactively to shape the agendas of the European institutions as well as reactively to respond to the needs and priorities at European level, taking into account the global picture. The specific methods are listed below:

Monitoring of publicly available information, including news, institutional websites, tobacco industry websites and documents
Maintain relationships and contacts with key international experts in tobacco regulation so as to have access to the latest scientific evidence
Create and maintain a database of relevant key stakeholders and contacts
Maintain contact with EU and national officials to understand developments and assess policy positions, needs for information, and understanding of issues.
Monitor and expose tobacco industry arguments and tactics and develop evidence-based rebuttals
Exchange information and updates with SFP Coalition partners on a regular basis
Develop or commission legal briefings and/or case-law summaries
Develop and disseminate policy papers and technical assistance documents for policy makers and NGOs
Raise awareness of tobacco control issues among EU and national policy makers through mailings, events, publications and the SFP website
Identify and ensure dissemination of experience and best practice among the SFP Coalition, and match advocacy expertise with needs among Coalition partners
Provide advocacy information, training and tools to SFP Coalition partners
Identify and retain appropriate staff
Regular and annual reporting of activities
Apply for additional core and project funding
Representation and promotion in European and international contexts
Develop and implement a communications strategy and plan
Develop and implement staff evaluation and training strategy
Develop lists of suppliers for utilities / ongoing tech and web support
Update strategic plan and develop annual work plan
Review resources and needs annually
Regular updates to SFP Board

Work performed during the reporting period

WP1: TPD implementation
1.1 SFP monitored the transposition and implementation of the TPD at national level and has assisted SFP coalition partners with information on the transposition status across the EU.
1.2 SFP monitored TPD related litigation at EU and national level and provided immediate responses and analysis to the Coalition.
1.2 SFP provided technical assistance and advice to Partners (including outside the EU) in their advocacy for the implementation of TPD measures
WP2: Article 24 TPD / plain packaging
2.1 SFP produced and disseminated to Partners a case law briefing on tobacco industry lawsuits related to the TPD and maintained it up to date throughout the year
2.3 SFP worked with Coalition Partners to monitor the public discourse regarding plain packaging and to assess the national situation and the key positions , as well as to provide technical assistance and capacity building as needed.
2.4 SFP participated in trainings, conferences and events in order to develop its network amongst the European experts, policy makers at national level and legal community as well as its expertise regarding plain packaging.
2.5 On WNTD 2016, Smoke Free Partnership coordinated 12 other health and tobacco control organisations to organise a reception celebrating the entry into force of the Tobacco Products Directive and the implementation of plain packaging in the UK and France, with Ireland, Hungary, Slovenia and Norway soon to follow.
2.6 SFP produced a briefing on the latest policy and legal developments on article 11&13 FCTC, with a focus on the implementation evidence on plain packaging
2.7 SFP facilitated the exchange of expertise and information among Coalition partners.

WP3 : smoke free policies
3.1. SFP updated its Smokefree Map (FCTC Article 8). This online tool details the smokefree policies of all EU Member States as well as six close European neighbours.
3.2. SFP supported Coalition partners by sending co-signed letters from the SFP Coalition national authorities calling for the strengthening of smoke-free policies.

WP4 : tax and illicit trade
4.1. SFP worked with Coalition partners to promote the national ratification and implementation of the WHO Illicit Trade Protocol.
4.2. SFP has worked with experts to establish the key lines for a draft civil society position on the revision of the TTD.
4.3. SFP maintained regular contacts with EU and national officials working on tobacco tax and illicit trade issues, in order to keep up to date on the status of policy processes and keep the Coalition partners informed.
4.4. SFP organised a two day capacity building and strategy setting seminar in Bratislava, Slovakia involving experts, NGOs from the EU, neighbouring Eastern European countries, and relevant policy makers at the EU and national levels (in particular ministries of health, finance and customs).
4.5 In July 2016, Smoke Free Partnership (SFP) and its partner organisations across Europe responded to the Inception Impact Assessment (IIA) on the possible revision of the Council Directive 2011/64. In September SFP participated in a stakeholder consultation meeting on this topic.
4.6 SFP and Coalition partners participated in the public consultation and stakeholder worklshop regarding the implementing and delegated acts foreseen under Articles 15(11), 15(12) and 16(2) of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU on an EU system for tobacco traceability and security features.
4.7 SFP advocated against the renewal of tobacco industry agreements with the EU, which do not reflect the measures foreseen under the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products and may contravene obligations under FCTC Article 5.3.
4.8 SFP monitored tobacco industry tactics and kept partners informed of these tactics in order to counteract them at national level

WP5 : Article 5.3
5.1 SFP and the Belgian Foundation Against Cancer hosted a capacity building workshop on the implementation of Article 5.3 of the

The main output achieved so far and their potential impact and use by target group (including benefits)

List of all published material

(WP1) Operational objective 1: TPD implementation
- SFP Press release: Over 100 countries have adopted pictorial health warnings, and almost 20 have adopted or are considering the introduction of plain standardised packaging, shows a new international status report – Nov 2016
- SFP Press release: Tobacco Products Directive enters into force: the start of a new stage for tobacco control in Europe –May 2016
- (Partner news) Swedish Tobaksfakta giving extra emphasis to information on new tobacco regulations

(WP2) Operational objective: TPD Article 24
- SFP's contribution to press conference organised by the SFP Coalition partner Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control – Oct 2016
- SFP Press release: World No Tobacco Day cocktail reception 2016: The 2014 Tobacco Products Directive and Plain Packaging Progress in the EU – June 2016
- World No Tobacco Day cocktail reception: The 2014 Tobacco Products Directive and Plain Packaging Progress in the EU – June 2016
- (Partner news) ASH Press release: Tobacco industry appeal against standard packs law rejected – Dec 2016
- (partner news) - Press release by Norwegian Cancer Society: Parliament adopts Standardised packaging to save lives and prevent suffering – Dec 2016

(WP3)Operational objective 3: Smokefree policy

(WP3) Operational objective 4: Tax and illicit trade
- SFP Press release: European Commission rejects renewal or extension of the controversial agreement with tobacco multinational Philip Morris International (PMI) on tackling illicit trade – Jul 2016
- SFP and The Union Capacity Building Seminar on Taxation and Illicit Trade of Tobacco Products – Jun 2016
- SFP Press release: European Parliament approves the ratification of the Illicit Trade Protocol – June 2016
- SFP Joint Press release: Health organisations applaud the European Parliament’s stand against tobacco industry agreements – Mar 2016
- SFP Joint Press release: Health organisations outraged by EU’s “possible” decision to extend agreement with tobacco transnational Philip Morris - Feb 2016

(WP4) Operational objective 5: Article 5.3 FCTC
- SFP statement: Ombudsman ruling of maladministration in Commission’s dealings with the tobacco industry – Dec 2016
- SFP Press release: European Parliament meeting sounds the alarm over tobacco industry meddling – March 2016
- High level conference: Combatting Tobacco Industry Tactics: State of Play and a Way Forward – Feb 2016
- SFP press release: European Commission embraces its failure to rein in tobacco industry influence – Feb 2016

(WP5) Operational objective 6: Tobacco and international trade

(WP6) Operational objective 7: Tobacco control Research
- Roundtable on Article 20 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – Oct 2016

(WP7-8) Strategic objective 3 (operational objectives 8 – Coalition capacity building and 9 – Coalition governance)
- SFP News Update December 2016
- (partner news) Press release by Advocacy Center LIFE: Big Tobacco Tiny Targets: Tobacco Industry is Marketing Deadly Product to Kids in Ukraine

List of media coverage (“traditional” media)
- Brussels blocks Big Tobacco lobbying push – Politico, 21 Jan 2016
- EU tobacco deal needs thorough update if renewed – EU Observer, 15 Feb 2016
- EU agrees to tax e-cigarettes at higher rate – The Guardian, 2 Mar 2016
- Anti-tobacco lobby urges MEPs to reject Philip Morris deal – EU Observer 3 Mar 2016
- Les eurodéputés veulent que la Commission se libère des lobbies du tabac – Mediapart, 13 Mar 2016
- EU anti-fraud official backs tobacco agreements – Politico, 21 Mar 2016
- Parliament urged to consider a bill on tobacco packaging – Ukrinform, 5 April 2016
- The government recommends the adoption of a bill to change the labeling of cigarette pack – Ukr. Media, 10 Oct 2016
- Les lobbies du tabac "à nouveau à l'assaut de l'Europe" – L’Express, 16 Apr 20

Achieved outcomes compared to the expected outcomes

We are proud to report that the activities promoted by this OG had a direct impact on policymakers, particularly at EC and MS level. In particular, we would like to highlight the direct impact of the SFP’s actions at national level in the area of smoke-free policies, transposition of the TPD, implementation of measures such as plain packaging, implementation of safeguards against tobacco industry interference, and ratification of the Illicit Trade Protocol.

We are also proud to report that the results/outputs created by this OG activities could be used as evidence and tools for decision making. In particular, SFP produced evidence-based material on tobacco packaging, smoke-free policies (the map), tobacco industry interference (data on tobacco lobbying at EU level, and collecting evidence and studies on tobacco industry tactics), illicit trade (information and evidence to MEPs) and on tobacco taxation (a submission to the EC), which are being promoted at national level to support decision making and the shaping of national positions within the EU policy processes.

We have detailed below what these were for each WP:

(WP1) Operational objective 1: TPD implementation
- Our activities helped the MS to transpose and implement the TPD on time and according to plan
(WP2) Operational objective: TPD Article 24
- Our activities helped to shape the debate at national level – SFP participated in a press conference and SFP director was one of the main speaker. We also sent evidence and briefing to our 2 Slovenian Partners; we are proud to report that Slovenia is now in its final phases of adopting plain packaging (Feb 2017)
(WP3)Operational objective 3: Smoke-free policy
- Our activities (letters to national Parliament, briefing based on evidence) was used by national MPs during the debates. We are proud to report that the Czech Republic adopted its smoke free law in February 2017, after one reading was completed in Dec 2016
- Our activities (letters to national parliament, briefing based on evidence) was also used by national MPs during the debates. As a direct result of our action, we are proud to report that the Romanian Parliament rejected the amendments that would have weakened the smoke free law in September 2016
(WP4) Operational objective 4: Tax and illicit trade
- Regarding the PMI agreement, SFP worked tirelessly within the EP (briefings; high level conference and individual meetings with MEPS) to ensure the adoption of a resolution against the PMI agreement. The EP resolution not to renew was adopted on 9th March 2016; the combination of all our activities on this dossier (Meetings with Commissioner Andriukaitis and Commissioner Georgieva followed by letters to EC President Junker and Vice-President Timmermans) helped to galvanise the EU position against the renewal of the PMI agreement which was officially announced on the 06th July 2016.
- Regarding the Ratification of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (ITP) by the EU (as well as 6 EU MS), we are proud to report that our activities, notably a detailed briefing explaining the policy process related to the ITP ratification within the EU institutions as well as several meetings with key MEPS, EC Vice President Georgieva and Commissioner Andriukaitis helped to shape the debate which resulted in the vote in EP Plenary on two reports/recommendations from the LIBE and INTA EP Committees urging for ratification of the Protocol by the EU (7th June 2016. These reports were then successfully adopted (i.e. The European Parliament gave its consent for the ratification of the Protocol). The Council also approved the decision of the Parliament. The EU officially ratified the Protocol on the 24th June 2016.
- Regarding adoption of higher taxes on tobacco products at national level, we are proud to report that, following At national level, four countries having participated in SFP workshops adopted higher tobacco taxes. While this is not directly attribu

Dissemination and evaluation activities carried out so far and their major results

SFP material and activities were promoted via media such as the SFP website and social media networks, especially facebook and twitter. Confidential material was distributed via the mailing list directly to the SFP Coalition partners. The strengths of the dissemination activities are that all SFP Coalition partners and in many cases public health organisations work together with one voice at EU and national level. Letters regarding EU or national policy were sent directly to their recipients without further publication but without an expectation of confidentiality.

The main strength of SFP’s dissemination activities is the targeting of communications to achieve its advocacy objective. In this sense, no material is sent out, privately or publicly, without an advocacy objective in mind. This limits the dissemination activities to the necessary and useful, while reducing the amount of unnecessary, excessive or irrelevant communications. This further strengthens the reputation of SPF with its partners and stakeholders, as an organisation that is evidence based, aware of timings, processes and information needs, which in turn delivers advocacy results. Furthermore, SFP’s coordination with the coalition partners on shared advocacy objectives further strengthens the voice of civil society in the policy process by ensuring all NGOs speak with one voice.

SFP contracted the University of Stirling to conduct the independent evaluation. To this aim, Stirling University developed a methodology, was provided with all requested advocacy information, and developed a questionnaire plan and calendar for the first part of the evaluation exercise. The evaluation activities are ongoing. In addition SFP self-evaluated against the indicators part of the work programme. The results indicate that all targets were achieved.