The Slovenia Times

Youth organisation wins WHO award for anti-tobacco efforts


Founded in 2006, No Excuse Slovenia has been striving for positive social change, especially in terms of sustainable development and public health. Through various projects it encourages young people to think critically, propose changes and act.

Since its founding it has been raising awareness among the young about marketing strategies of the tobacco industry. It has organised workshops in schools for more than 100,000 young people.

It has collaborated with internationally acclaimed institutions such as John Hopkins University and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

"This award is like the Oscar for a Hollywood actor. It means that the most important public health organisation in the world has recognised our contribution to tobacco control and this feels truly amazing," said Jan Peloza, the organisation's founder.

Its chair Urška Erklavec said that the award was a recognition of the work so far but also a big encouragement for the future. "Although Slovenia has very good legislation on restricting the use of tobacco products, we must always pay attention and be active, because the industry always finds new ways to advertise smoking among the young, systematically violate the law and lobby for legislative changes," she said.

Representatives of the international NGO European Network For Smoking And Tobacco Prevention stressed at the award ceremony in Brussels that fight against the tobacco industry was the first priority of any good activist from the field. They also strongly condemned the legislative proposal to delay obligatory standardised packaging for tobacco products in Slovenia for another three years.

Under the 2017 changes to the act on the use of tobacco and related products, which imposed stricter regulation of the use and advertising of tobacco products, and introduced graphic warnings on the packaging, obligatory uniform cigarette packaging should be introduced in 2020.

But on Tuesday a group of coalition MPs and two MPs of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) proposed putting off the standardised packaging until 2023.

The Commission for Corruption Prevention is already looking into possible wrongdoings in the lobbying of the tobacco industry regarding the legislation.


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