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International alcohol policy conference will be held in Tallinn next week

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Alcohol is associated with more than 200 different health problems and alcohol-related harm is estimated at € 372 billion a year in Europe. Photo: pexels.com

The Estonian Presidency will hold an international conference 'Cross-Border Aspects in Alcohol Policy – Tackling Harmful Use of Alcohol' in Tallinn, on 30-31 October. The conference will focus on three main cross-border issues: the labelling of alcoholic beverages, cross-border trade, and cross-border advertising, including in new media.

The two-day event will bring policy makers and experts from a number of different fields in addition to the health sector, such as agriculture, culture and finance, to Tallinn.

The conference will seek answers to the following questions: What are the potential gains and losses of giving up the labelling exception for alcoholic beverages? How can young people and children be protected from the impact of cross-border alcohol advertising? Does the self-regulation of the alcohol industry work? What is the appropriate response to the growing cross-border trade? How can alcohol consumption patterns and health effects be measured and how can the comparability of the collected data from different member states be ensured? What steps should be taken by member states and the European Commission to reduce alcohol-related harm?

The conference will host policy makers and experts from Estonia and beyond as speakers and participants. The conference will be opened by Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski, the keynote speakers of the conference are Dr Martin McKee, a professor from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Dr David Jernigan, a professor from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the United States. Among the anticipated speakers are the Lithuanian Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga; Director for Public Health of the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety John F. Ryan; Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-Course and WHO Regional Office for Europe representative Gauden Galea; the European Commission's Joint Research Centre analyst Sandra Caldeira; and OECD health policy analyst Michele Cecchini. Among other Estonian experts, the Director of the Institute of Economic Research Marje Josing; Deputy Secretary General on Taxation and Customs Policy of the Ministry of Finance Dmitri Jegorov; and Deputy Secretary General on Health of the Ministry of Social Affairs Maris Jesse, will be speakers at the conference.

Alcohol is associated with more than 200 different health problems and alcohol-related harm is estimated at € 372 billion a year in Europe. The aim of the conference is to reduce alcohol-related harm in the EU by strengthening member states' capacities to implement effective health policy and tackle cross-border issues. Tackling alcohol related harm is one of the priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the field of health.

There will be opportunities on both days for pre-arranged interviews and comments. Interviews with the speakers must be agreed upon in advance. In case of interest, please contact eva.lehtla@sm.ee or + 372 55643691.

Twitter: @SoMinEstonia, # EU2017EE #alcoholpolicy

The conference is held in English.

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