Significantly fewer Dutch people smoke now than five years ago but amongst the young it is still a problem, according to new figures from the Trimbos Institute for addiction and mental health.
Although around one in five people smoke now compared to one in four in 2014, its research showed that many people between 18 and 24 are still taking up the habit. Almost 31% of those from 24 to 29 smoke, compared with just under 22% of the whole population. Meanwhile, the number of 18 and 19 year olds who smoke crept up from 19.5% in 2018 to 20.2% last year.
Marc Willemsen, scientific director of tobacco control at Trimbos, told the NRC that the figures amongst the young are worrying, particularly because many 24 to 29 year olds smoke daily and find the habit relaxing. ‘The longer you smoke, the more difficult it is to give it up,’ he reportedly said. ‘This suggests an underlying problem of stress amongst young adults.’
He added that support campaigns often do not reach this group. ‘This is worrying because it often goes wrong if you try to stop smoking without help. But this is the group that the tobacco industry aims marketing material at, for example, through influencers on social media.’