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Public Health

2018 EU Health Award for NGOs

Rewarding outstanding initiatives by NGOs which have contributed to a higher level of public health in the EU by working on preventing tobacco use

In 2018, the European Commission rewarded outstanding initiatives by NGOs which have contributed to a higher level of public health in the EU by working on preventing tobacco use.

There were 11 candidate NGOs which were considered for the prize. The winners of the EU Health Award for NGOs 2018 were announced on 12 November 2018 at the Award Ceremony hosted during the EU Health Policy Platform annual meeting, in presence of EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis.


1st Prize

Irish Cancer Society

X-HALE Youth Smoking Prevention Programme

The Irish Cancer Society X-HALE Youth Smoking Prevention and Education programme has been rolled out across Ireland each year since 2011 in partnership with over 270 community-based youth organisations and young people aged 10-24 as part of our ongoing commitment and contribution towards decreasing youth smoking rates and reducing health inequalities.

X-HALE’s peer education approach harnesses the potential for young people most affected by tobacco use to drive the movement towards a smoke-free generation among their friends, communities and wider networks using film, social media and community action.

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2nd Prize

Education Against Tobacco / Aufklärung gegen Tabak e.V.

Education Against Tobacco

Education Against Tobacco is a multinational network driven by >3.500 volunteering medical students and physicians from 82 medical schools located in 14 countries worldwide. Founded in 2012, its mission is:

  • to deliver school-based prevention (>45,000 adolescents per year), to help smokers quit on a population basis via free evidence-based smoking cessation apps (>500,000 users).
  • to improve physician-delivered smoking cessation counselling by educating more than 400 prospective physicians per year in elective courses at 17 of the participating medical schools and to promote tobacco control by entering into dialogue with politicians.

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3rd Prize

Youth Network No Excuse Slovenia

Youth Organisation No Excuse Slovenia

No Excuse Slovenia approaches the tobacco problem on several different levels:

(1) by providing a 1,000-hour educational training programme for their activists to become active citizens who strive to change society for the better

(2) by raising awareness in primary and secondary schools (young people aged 12 to 19 in Slovenia), increasing the knowledge on harmful effects of tobacco use;

(3) engaging in research activities, where they try to uncover the non-compliance of tobacco distributers with the law;

(4) by advocating for stronger tobacco-control legislation.

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Considered candidates

Berlin Working Group Environment and Development (BLUE 21)


Since 2004, BLUE 21 has been running the project Unfairtobacco: Our mission is to promote policy change towards a holistic approach to tobacco control by raising awareness of the impact of tobacco on health, human rights and the environment. To achieve decreasing smoking prevalence and effective, sustainable tobacco prevention, changes on a policy level are necessary.

The project provides expertise by publishing papers, fact sheets and a website and sharing everything on social media. We do advocacy at national, European and international levels. Additionally, we provide an education programme for children, youth and disseminators using school workshops and exhibitions and by supporting youth action on WNTD.

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The Choice Foundation

Teens understanding and taking control health (TUTCH)

The TUTCH program (teens understanding and taking control of health) utilises medical students as health educators for adolescent youth throughout Sweden. In two 90-minute sessions, the programme describes what happens to your body and mind when doing different kinds of drugs, drinking alcohol and using tobacco.

The programme also debunks many common myths associated with the body and the usage of alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

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L’Espace du Souffle

The Breath races "la route du Rhum 2018"

In November, with your support, “The Breathing Space” is taking the tobacco cessation month to the next level. Through the project “The Breath Race: Route du Rhum 2018" we intend to propel tobacco control through social media, using the lever of the boat race and sending positive messages on the benefit of quitting smoking during a month long journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Skipper-tobacco specialist on board will guide people in their coping strategies, navigating them through the sometimes choppy waters of giving up an addiction.

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Hellenic Cancer Society


Since 2009, through applied experimentation, the Hellenic Cancer Society has developed an innovative holistic approach that addresses the entire school community. This includes the creation of specialised training centres, dissemination of guidelines for teachers and parents as well as the organisation of annual student conferences and art competitions for a smoke-free Greece.

More than 40,000 students have participated in 1,525 interventions that have taken place around Greece. Regarding the train-the-trainer workshops, more than 2,500 school teachers have participated and 5,000 copies of the book entitled “Education for a Smokefree Society” have been printed and distributed.

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Hungarian Respiratory Society

Approaches to enhance smoking cessation in Hungary through guideline formulation and targeted training for healthcare professionals.

The formulation and implementation of the updated National Guideline on Smoking Cessation (Hungary) made deficiencies apparent: according to international and national experience, healthcare professionals frequently fail to provide brief intervention to patients due to insufficient education and lack of skills.

The President of the Hungarian Respiratory Society seized the opportunity to emphasise the Society's involvement in tobacco control activities by extending the project-related workshops to all healthcare professionals.

The project is currently running its second two-year period. A pilot training programme aiming to deliver a complex cessation and prevention programme for the region is planned for health visitors in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County in 2018-2019.

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Institute for the Prevention of Addiction (VIVID)

Institute for the Prevention of Addiction (VIVID)

In Austria, a country that is well known as tobacco-friendly, preventing tobacco use is particularly challenging, but VIVID – Institute for the Prevention of Addiction has been trying to change that since 1997. In 2007 VIVID started to coordinate and implement the “Styrian Tobacco Prevention Strategy” which now leads the way in Austria.

It aims to minimize the number of people that start smoking, to maximize the number of people that quit smoking and to protect non-smokers. To go forward against tobacco, VIVID has a long-term action plan with six action policies: monitoring, tobacco prevention children/adolescents, advocacy, public relations, health professionals and smoking cessation.

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Institut für Therapie- und Gesundheitsforschung

Be Smart – Don't Start

Competition for smoke-free classes started in 1997. With the aim of influencing social norms and by using contract management techniques, school classes participating in the competition commit themselves to abstain from smoking for six months.

Classes report on a regular basis whether they have remained smoke-free or not.

After the end of the competition period, successful classes participate in a prize draw. Over the past 20 years, the competition has become the major school-based intervention to prevent smoking in Germany, with 4.5 million pupils having participated.

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Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control (SCTC)

Reducing the Consumption of Tobacco, Related Products and Alcohol among the Inhabitants of the Republic of Slovenia

SCTC developed this initiative based on 15 years of experience. It comprises preventive programmes including one called “My Non-Smoking Vow”, which is an interactive programme for pupils 9-14 years of age intended to help prevent them from ever starting to smoke.

Another is “Free Hands – Clean Lungs”, a programme developed by the Slovenian National Health Institute for students 15-19 years of age aimed at tobacco cessation and the promotion of non-smoking among adolescents. SCTC's next programme focuses on “Tobacco and Alcohol Traps” and works to inform parents about the traps of tobacco and alcohol use.

Read the summary report