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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Confab Blasts Smoking

HELSINKI, Finland () -- A 50-nation health congress has demanded tough anti-smoking measures for Europe, saying tobacco kills half a million Europeans every year. A nine-point plan presented Oct. 3 at the first Smokefree Europe Conference calls for a ban on smoking on all European Union airline flights, increased tobacco taxes and prohibition of tobacco-vending machines.

"The annual toll of half a million Europeans who die from tobacco-related diseases should be understood for what it is, a huge problem for our society,'' said Padraig Flynn, the EU's social affairs commissioner.

Even though smoking has declined in many Western European countries, worldwide tobacco consumption increases by some 2 percent a year, conference organizers said.