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Health minister opposes tougher tobacco rules, says RTL news

Monday 05 November 2012

European plans to put 'gruesome' photographs on cigarette packets and ban vending machines are opposed by Dutch health minister Edith Schippers, RTL news reports on Monday.

The minister's position contradicts formal advice from the public health institute RIVM and is out of line with other EU countries, the broadcaster says.

The European Commission is due to come up with new rules on tobacco sales this autumn, but Schippers has already said she ‘sees nothing’ in the plans. ‘The Netherlands is critical of placing photographs on packets’, RTL quotes her as saying. The RIVM favours the move, saying research shows ‘gruesome’ photos are more effective than written warnings.


She also states proposals to ban cigarette vending machines in cafes and clubs would be ‘too much of a burden’ for the sector.

Anti-tobacco lobby group Stivoro says the minister’s position is ‘incomprehensible’. ‘The Netherlands would appear to let commercial interests prevail above the interests of public health,’ a spokesman said.

Stivoro said earlier this month the number of smokers in the Netherlands will have risen to 26.2% of the adult population by the end of this year.

Government policy

In 2011, the percentage of over-18s who smoke was 25%, but that will go up by 170,000 people this year, research by TNS Nipo shows.

The organisation blames the increase on the relaxation of the smoking ban in small cafes and the removal of help with stopping smoking from the basic health insurance package. The minister has also halved government funding for Stivoro from next year.

RTL quotes Schippers as saying she is following ‘a well-considered smoking strategy in which the protection of public health and measures to discourage tobacco use are balanced with the importance of individual responsibility and freedom of choice.’

Are you an ex-smoker or have you started smoking again? Share your experiences using the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Insurance for a non-smoking establishment has to be less. Bars and cafés which have allowed tobacco smoke have to refurbish before sensitive noses will want to stay for a drink, a one-time cost best swallowed with lower rates ad infinitum. Feel free to raise fire insurance premiums and related tax where smoking is allowed.

By Puck | 5 November 2012 8:52 AM

I think having Schippers as health minister is like having the fox in charge of the hen house. The tobacco industry lobbyists must have gotten to her..or could it be taxes on smokes is a good thing for the Dutch gov? There is no excuse for opposing stricter anti-tobacco legislation.

By M | 5 November 2012 9:01 AM

This should be put in place! Its been in place for years in Canada and we have a very low smoking rate, partly because of things like this and partly because smoking has become socially unacceptable. Put it in place and save billions in health care costs, as well as family grief as a result of loosing a loved one from tobacco related illness.

By Sarah | 5 November 2012 9:09 AM

Are we gonna get pictures of obese people on Burgers and Krokets?We should it kills far more than tobacco

By jason buttle | 5 November 2012 10:28 AM

Well, we knew this was coming, didn't we?

By Patrick | 5 November 2012 10:41 AM

The only explanation for Edith Schippers motives has to be corruption. We now know that graft exist among our politicians. Schippers position on this matter should be an indication that she has perhaps compromised the integrity of her office. Her actions warrant an investigation.

By Quince | 5 November 2012 11:33 AM

Isn't Schippers known to have had dealings with tobacco giants in the past? Surely her current position on tobacco advertising highlights this? This from last year: http://bit.ly/SsMDmr

By MissNeriss | 5 November 2012 12:33 PM

Health minister opposes tougher tobacco rules, says RTL news. This is understandable. When people stop smocking together with the passive smoker they will stay healthy and one would not need a health minister. Simple.

By Terence Hale | 5 November 2012 2:25 PM

Well done Ms Schippers. It's good to see that not every health minister has bowed down to the tobacco control zealots and their propaganda.

By Parmenion | 5 November 2012 5:33 PM

As much as I'm annoyed by many smokers (many just smoke in places where there's a 100% chance it inconveniences others), posting gruesome photos on smoking packages is something I completely disagree with.

Why? Simple. Disgusting pictures should NEVER be forced on to people. That is just a form of torture: visual torture. I've done a search for the pictures, and it seems that's indeed an appropriate description. Visual torture is of course nothing near real torture, but it's still inhuman.

Besides that, it also sets a slippery slope (not a valid argument on its own, but this is just an addition). Just imagine if every bag of chips got a picture of a 500 lbs naked man, for example.

By Someone | 5 November 2012 5:42 PM

Making Schippers Minister for Health is like putting the Taliban in charge of women's education, NAMBLA in charge of protecting kids from sexual predators, or the KKK in charge of equal opportunity. Whoever put her in that position is as corrupt as she is. I expect that money and perks from the tobacco industry are involved. If the Netherlands wants to keep it's self-perceived position as a leader in human rights, health protection, and social justice, it should hurry and catch up with the others. Start by ditching Schippers and whoever was corrupt enough to appoint her to that position.

By U92 | 5 November 2012 6:14 PM

@Sarah in Canada. Similar story in Australia. We have ugly photos, death and disease statistics on packets with much lower smoking rates. Soon we will have ugly plain packaging as well and hoping for even lower smoking rates. I have smoked for over 40 years and not proud of it - I am an addict! Getting youngsters into it should be a crime too. But this debate does beg the question of openness and transparency of political donations - they do not bite the hand that feeds.

By Max Harmreduction | 5 November 2012 6:24 PM

Browse this site that exposes the truth, the lies and the corruption within global tobacco control.


By Bill Gibson | 5 November 2012 8:45 PM

It's great news that our Health minister is not susceptible to the anti-smoking lobby that is supported by the farmaceutical nicotine makers. The same groups (including EC and WHO) that want to prohibit e-cigs (not made by their farmaceutical supporters) and snus. E-cigs are much more effective for smoking cessation than the farmaceutical nicotine so they are dangerous for Big Pharma.
Schippers is very well aware of these financial interests that are pushing for prohibition.

By DrNukey | 5 November 2012 10:13 PM

I may yet move to Holland if they keep this up!!

By harleyrider1978 | 5 November 2012 10:31 PM

Australia, the same country that bans smoking outside street side cafes while being completely oblivious to the traffic fumes poisoning the oh so superior non smokers!! The logic of the fanatics defy common sense

By zakrocz | 5 November 2012 10:53 PM

Whenever I am at the till at Aldi the side bit is full of packets of cigarettes...it must be a temptation for some.

By none | 6 November 2012 1:52 PM

There ought to be an investigation into Schippers. Her pro-smoking, anti-health policies are wholly inappropriate for a health minister. Check out "Minister of Tobacco," a documentary from last year, which you can view here (in Dutch): http://www.uitzendinggemist.nl/afleveringen/1114105

By Lauren | 6 November 2012 2:55 PM

Resistance to tougher tobacco rules, but in favor of tougher cannabis rules... What the heck is happening to this country?

By Broseph | 6 November 2012 3:53 PM

Excellent news, a minister who is not in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry and not frightened of tobacco CONTROL industry tactics that smears and attempts to destroy any politician, scientist or medical professional who would oppose them. (examples of attempted smear tactics above). I hope more ministers in other countries take heed and have the courage to take on the oppressive tobacco CONTROL agenda too.

By Kin_Free | 6 November 2012 10:41 PM

Tobacco is very dangerous to the health it is causing to several problems!More over Nice work by the researchers!

By julieanderson | 7 November 2012 11:51 AM

I can't understand people who favour banning / criminalising things that people use because they're mildly addicted to or enjoy - that includes hard drugs.
Haven't you learned anything at all from history? As long as someone would buy it, someone else will sell it. There will always be a market for it - you're just making sure it will be a black one with all that it entails.
Just look at how well the war on drugs is going over in the US and Mexico - there's whole cities over there that are run by the gangs.
Please, stop trying to fix things before you learn to learn (sic) from our own past (and - unfortunately - present).

By radu | 8 November 2012 2:57 PM

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