Journalistic Workshop on Tobacco Control

Date: 24-25.03.2024.

Place: Simeonovo, Bulgaria

Following the round table held on February 13, 2024, in the Bulgarian Parliament, the Smoke-Free Life Coalition continued the informational wave with a two-day journalistic workshop held on March 24-25 in Simeonovo.

The following topics were presented:

  • The Index of Tobacco Control Sustainability – Masha Gavrailova
  • Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2023: Bulgaria – Gergana Geshanova
  • Launching Heated Tobacco Products with Misleading Claims of "Increased Safety" and "Reduced Harm" (journalistic investigation) – Pavel Antonov
  • Taxation of Tobacco Products in Bulgaria – Dimitar Sabev

The discussions, experience, and opinions of the journalists were an important factor in structuring the steps we all need to take together to achieve some progress. It turns out, as the Tobacco Control Sustainability Index reports, that everything in Bulgaria happens slowly and often gets left halfway, for which we all bear responsibility. But the biggest challenge and the most pressing issue before us now are the new amendments to the laws that need to move things forward and regulate the rules so that, with the support of the vigilant journalists in Bulgaria, we can inform the public and protect the younger generation from nicotine addiction. It is high time to place heated tobacco products, vapes, and other new products on par with conventional cigarettes because their purpose and idea are practically the same, leading to the same addiction. Therefore, according to the clear guidelines of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, ratified by Bulgaria in 2005, it is high time Bulgarian laws were updated to work in the interest of society, nature, and our health, rather than avoiding responsibility. The cost of this is over 20,000 deaths annually – directly or indirectly related to tobacco and nicotine-containing products.

The journalistic workshop concluded with a ceremony where the most dedicated and responsible journalists and friends of the Smoke-Free Life Coalition cause were awarded.