Anti-smoking alliance breaks with doctors who are too confrontational

The Dutch anti tobacco lobby Alliantie Nederland Rookvrij has ended its relationship with two lung specialists because, it says, they are too confrontational in their approach, Trouw reported on Tuesday.

The Alliance is made up of 155 companies, local authorities, hospitals and medical associations and wants to be a unifying force, chairman Floris Italianer told the paper.

Trouw says the cracks in the relationship with Wanda de Kanter and Pauline Dekker first emerged last year when they lobbied against the appointment of former MP Jolande Sap as chairwoman of a working party.

Sap, De Kanter and Dekker argued in an article on their website, is a supervisory board member of KPMG which has carried out research into the impact of tobacco smuggling. That research, they argue, has been used by the industry to lobby against increasing the tax on tobacco products.

The Dutch cancer charity KWF Kankerbestrijding wanted the article to be removed, arguing it was damaging to the alliance’s lobbying efforts. When they refused, the charity withdrew their funding for the website, Trouw said.

The two doctors run a website which seeks to expose the involvement of everyone in the tobacco industry, taking a ‘naming and shaming‘ approach.

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Now the alliance has removed the doctors’ own lobby group Stichting Rookpreventie Jeugd from the organisation’s list of partners, saying in a letter to other partners that the aim is ‘to work from a positive perspective: to be a unifying factor, to stimulate, motivate and take advantage of opportunities.’

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