Wednesday 23 June 2021

Next government must increase efforts to ban smoking: lobby groups

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Anti smoking lobby groups, supported by heart health charity Hartstichting, cancer charity KWF Kankerbestrijding and pharmaceuticals company Pfizer, have called on the next government to do more to ban smoking and to bring in strict regulations for alternative products, such as electronic cigarettes.

The outgoing government has put up prices and limited sales outlets as steps towards a smoke free generation by 2040, and the number of smokers has gone down from 25% to 20% in the last five years. However, some 20,000 people die from smoking related diseases in the Netherlands every year.

Despite the drop in the number of smokers, the total amount of tobacco being consumed has not gone down.

‘The remaining smokers are smoking more,’ long specialist and long-time campaigner Wanda de Kanter told the Financieele Dagblad.

De Kanter is scathing about tobacco giant Philip Morris’s attempt to promote its smoke-free product, or IQOS, as a healthier alternative and persuade the Dutch government to relax the rules surrounding the product.

IQOS, a system which heats tobacco but does not burn it, may be less risky than cigarettes but is as addictive, she said. And vaping, far from being an aid to stop smoking often leads the way to smoking regular cigarettes among young people, research has shown.

Health institute RIVM has stated that heated tobacco still contains cancer causing substances and can damage lung cells.

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