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Netherlands

Dutch cancer assoc. files lawsuit against tobacco producers

Dutch cancer fighting association KWF is suing four major tobacco companies for aggravated assault resulting in death and forgery. According to the association, the tobacco companies deliberately incorrectly inform smokers about the damage smoking actually causes, AD reports.

http://nltimes.nl/2017/03/24/dutch-cancer-assoc-files-lawsuit-tobacco-producers

KWF is filing charges against the largest tobacco manufacturers in the world – Imperial Tobacco Benelux, British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International.

The association is charging the tobacco companies with forgery because KWF believes they intentionally manipulate the mandatory tests that measure the emission of harmful and addictive substances in cigarettes. In this the KWF points to what they call the “sjoemel cigarette” [tampered cigarette]. These cigarettes have little holes that tests show make smokers inhale less harmful substances. But according to the KWF, this is wrong – smokers partly cover the holes with their fingers, thereby inhaling more harmful substances in practice than the tests indicate.

KWF is suing the tobacco companies with two smoking victims Anne Marie van Veen and Lia Breed and the Youth Smoking Prevention foundation.

Doctors help finance lawsuit against tobacco companies

Family doctors and medical specialists are lending financial support to the prosecution of four tobacco companies in what will be the first lawsuit of its kind in Europe, the Volkskrant writes.

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/01/doctors-help-finance-lawsuit-against-tobacco-companies/

The Dutch Journal of Medicine NTvG , which has a membership of over 250 doctors, has decided to earmark ‘several hundreds of thousands of euros’ to support the case which is being brought by 1,300 (ex) smokers suffering from smoking-related illnesses.

According to Willem Mali, professor of radiology at UMC Utrecht, doctors should do more than simply supporting anti-smoking policies, writing reports and informing their patients about the consequences of smoking. ‘Doctors should become activists and really go for it,’ he told the paper.

The case is not about compensation but about prosecuting tobacco companies for ‘wilfully producing addictive cigarettes and prejudicing people’s health with premeditation’, the paper writes. Anti-smoking policy In the Netherlands 20,000 people die every year from smoking-related illnesses. A quarter of the population smokes.

In the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom the number is much lower, which Mali blames on the less than stringent anti-smoking policy in this country. NTvG editor Yolanda van der Graaf feels doctors have the knowledge and authority to persuade politicians to adopt more restrictive measures.

‘All we talk about now is new, more expensive medicines against lung cancer which help make care unaffordable and only prolong life by a couple of months. But if no one smoked we wouldn’t have to have this debate at all,’ Van der Graaf told the paper. The Dutch association of tobacco producers VNK commented that it ‘remains confident that the sale of a legal product will not be labelled as a crime.’

Dutch plan new law to ban shops displaying cigarettes and tobacco

Junior health minister Martin van Rijn is working on draft legislation which would force shopkeepers and petrol stations to keep cigarettes out of sight of consumers, broadcaster NOS said on Friday. The tobacco industry had promised to come up with measures but is taking too long to do so, Van Rijn said in a briefing to parliament.

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/12/dutch-plan-new-law-to-ban-shops-displaying-cigarettes-and-tobacco/

The tobacconists’ association NSO has pledged to stop advertising tobacco products outside shops by 2020 but did not think a total ban on displays inside was an option.

Petrol station owners too had said they would bring in a partial ban on the display of packets of cigarettes within two years. ‘Smoking is extremely bad for you and we have to do all we can to stop youngsters taking up the habit,’ Van Rijn said.

Buying electronic cigarette turns age 18 in the Netherlands – Mesquite Tech Time

http://www.albanydailystar.com/health/buying-electronic-cigarette-turns-age-18-in-the-netherlands-mesquite-tech-time-13681.html

Electronic cigarettes and water pipes will be banned in the Netherlands for children under 18 from next year, the government said, after finding that the devices were more damaging to health than expected.

Dutch ban vaping for under 18s, say more harmful than thought

E-cigarettes, which electrically vaporize a nicotine-infused solution, are defended by their proponents as a healthier alternative to conventional cigarettes, but the government said its studies showed they were still harmful.

“With this ban I want to protect young people from the damage e-cigarettes cause,” said health state secretary Martin Van Rijn in a statement. “I also want to avoid young people thinking that these e-cigarettes in hip colors are normal.”

The government said that studies carried out by the Dutch food safety and public health institutes had shown that e-cigarettes were “more harmful than expected” to users’ health.

A recent U.S. study showed that teens and young adults who “vape” are more likely to graduate to smoking combustible cigarettes than those who do not.

The market for e-cigarettes is growing fast around the world as conventional smoking declines in response to massive public health campaigns and high sin taxes imposed on the practice.

Tobacco companies, including BAT, Philip Morris, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco, are all jostling for position in the emerging vaping market, which could top $7 billion in size this year.

The Netherlands will ban advertising of the devices when the new law comes into force in May 2016. E-cigarettes will be subject to new safety requirements and their packaging will have to carry health warnings.

The Netherlands, known for its relaxed attitude towards the consumption of soft drugs, is one of few countries left in Europe where it is still permitted to smoke indoors in certain bars.

Dutch government to ban e-cigarettes for people under 18

Electronic cigarettes are to be banned in the Netherlands for people aged less than 18, the Dutch health ministry said in a statement on Friday.

E-cigarettes, which electrically vaporize a nicotine-infused solution, are touted by their proponents as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, but authorities worldwide have warned that the science concerning their health effects is not yet clear.

The ban is due to come into force in May 2016, the ministry said.

Dutch tobacco policy goes up in smoke amid political tensions

The Netherlands refuses to take significant action as ruling parties fear blowback

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/dutch-tobacco-policy-goes-up-in-smoke-amid-political-tensions-1.2669071

The Dutch are good with their teenagers. Surveys show the youngsters are the happiest in Europe, with plenty of friends, relatively little bullying at school, and few unwanted pregnancies. So it comes as no surprise to see that smoking is disappearing too among the under-16s.

A new study by the National Statistics Office shows a consistent drop over the past 20 years. In the late 1990s some 10 per cent of under-16s had already taken up the regular smoking habit – but now that figure has dwindled to just 1.3 per cent, the trend is consistently downwards.

The statistics confirm a survey by Maastricht University a few years ago which showed smoking in school – whether behind the bike sheds or elsewhere – was just not cool anymore. In sociological terms, smokers were “no longer among the most influential majority group”.

The truth though is that the Netherlands has not overnight become a society where things change automatically for the better. This transformation is directly linked to a ban on the sale of cigarettes to under-16s introduced in 2003 – combined with a rigorous no-smoking policy in schools.

In a nutshell, enforcement has worked, a proposition supported by the second part of the latest statistics office survey, which shows that young people are simply falling prey to the killer addiction later – in their 20s, when they are free to make their own life choices.

Twentysomething smokers

In fact, the figures show that the highest proportion of smokers of any age is among twentysomethings. Almost 40 per cent of them smoke, 60 per cent of them every day.

The habit falls back slightly for the over-30s, but by then – as the song says – it’s a hard habit to break. A huge 85 per cent simply continue on smoking every day to the detriment of their health, particularly as they get older.

In fairness to the dogged Dutch, those who kick the habit are relentless in their determination. Some 30 per cent of smokers who quit never smoke again, well above the European average of 21 per cent. The problem though remains. It’s just the smokers who are older.

But are smokers really victims, or is smoking, indeed, simply a lifestyle choice?

Very much the former, say Amsterdam lawyer Benedicte Ficq and lung-cancer patient Anne Marie van Veen, who are planning a court action against tobacco companies for “purposely and premeditatedly” endangering smokers’ health – something the companies will vigorously deny.

“Our point is that smokers’ ability to choose has been influenced by the addition to cigarettes of addictive substances such as nicotine and additives with the specific intention of limiting that freedom of choice”, says Ficq, who wants possible prison sentences for tobacco company executives.

“This is unacceptable on many levels but particularly when children and young adults are among those being targeted.”

Victims or not, almost one-quarter of Dutch citizens over 15 are smokers – and roughly half that number will die of smoking-related diseases at a rate of about 20,000 a year.

That raises questions from anti-smoking campaigners about why the government is choosing what they regard as easy options – scary pictures on cigarette packages and public information campaigns – rather than tough love in the form of substantial tax increases, a form of enforcement that’s been shown to work in Sweden and Australia.

Tax rise

A vocal advocate of hitting smokers where it hurts – in their pockets – is Eric van den Burg, an alderman in Amsterdam with prime minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal Party. In his opinion, smokers should face an immediate tax increase of at least €10 a packet.

Where the tobacco interests and the pro-choice lobby in the Liberals are wrong, he contends, is that not every person is capable of making an independent-minded decision about smoking. “Addicts are not free to choose – that’s what makes them addicts,” he argues.

Van den Burg also points to the inevitable voter backlash that would follow in next year’s general election were the Liberal-Labour coalition to pluck up its courage and act for what he sees as the public good by increasing tobacco taxes.

His calculation is simple: in a political landscape in which Rutte’s Liberals are being closely challenged by Geert Wilders and his anti-immigrant Freedom Party, a tax hike on fags would lead directly to the loss of two or even three crucial seats.

For Labour, the blowback would be even worse, he maintains, simply because there tends to be more smokers among people on lower incomes, typically Labour followers.

Still, such cold-hearted realpolitik couldn’t possibly be the rationale for making public health decisions that cost lives. Could it?

The Hague Court: Dutch alcohol and tobacco ID campaign in violation of anti-trust legislation

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-hague-court-dutch-alcohol-and-tobacco-id-campaign-in-violation-of-anti-trust-legislation-300256112.html

Teleconnect Inc (OTCBB: TLCO) today announces that the Court in The Hague has ruled that the Dutch Food Retail Association (CBL) and Jumbo Supermarkets have violated anti-trust legislation by ruling out the very effective age validation system ‘Ageviewers’ at the sale of tobacco and alcohol.

Instrumental for the infringement was the industry wide responsible alcohol retailing code and an ID-campaign in the Netherlands, similar to the ‘We Card Program’ in the US. The Court in The Hague, sitting in full bench, established that both the code and the campaign have the object of impeding the implementation and proliferation of the Ageviewers system and therefore are declared void and nonexistent. CBL and Jumbo are the first parties that have been found jointly and severally liable for all damages inflicted to Ageviewers since 2008.

The ruling does not only affect CBL and Jumbo. Among the many parties involved in the ID program are Dutch market leader Ahold, currently merging with Delhaize and operating in the US with brands as Stop & Shop, Giant and Peapod; the Dutch Brewers Association; the Wine Industry; Bacardi-Martini and Diageo.

Reaction Teleconnect Inc – Ageviewers

We are very happy with this judgment. Our business has been severely affected by this cartel since 2008 and our financial claim will be substantial. In our view, the boycott exposes an extensive morality and compliance problem regarding the sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors. We are investigating the consequences of the judgment in the US, as the boycott completely derailed our plans to implement the Ageviewers system in the American market, where our company is listed and where we have our roots.

We are requesting all parties involved in the production and sale of tobacco and alcohol, in responsible retailing and prevention institutes, to endorse and support our further efforts to implement Ageviewers in the Dutch and US market.

Smoking status and subjective well-being

http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2016/04/20/tobaccocontrol-2015-052601.short?g=w_tobaccocontrol_ahead_tab

Abstract

Background/aims

A debate is currently underway about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) methods for evaluating antitobacco regulation. In particular, the US government requires a cost-benefit analysis for significant new regulations, which has led the FDA to consider potential lost subjective well-being (SWB) of ex-smokers as a cost of any proposed antitobacco policy. This practice, which significantly limits regulatory capacity, is premised on the assumption that there is in fact a loss in SWB among ex-smokers.

Methods

We analyse the relationship between SWB and smoking status using a longitudinal internet survey of over 5000 Dutch adults across 5 years. We control for socioeconomic, demographic and health characteristics, and in a contribution to the literature, we additionally control for two potential confounding personality characteristics, habitual use of external substances and sensitivity to stress. In another contribution, we estimate panel fixed effects models that additionally control for unobservable time-invariant characteristics.

Results

We find strong suggestive evidence that ex-smokers do not suffer a net loss in SWB. We also find no evidence that the change in SWB of those who quit smoking under stricter tobacco control policies is different from those who quit under a more relaxed regulatory environment. Furthermore, our cross-sectional estimates suggest that the increase in SWB from quitting smoking is statistically significant and also of a meaningful magnitude.

Conclusions

In sum, we find no empirical support for the proposition that ex-smokers suffer lower net SWB compared to when they were smoking.

MPs set to vote for new tobacco packaging with gruesome images

Dutch MPs are today expected to approve new European Union rules on tobacco packaging, which will see 65% of cigarette packets covered with health warnings.

The new packaging, which will include photographs of damaged lungs and other smoking-generated health problems, is due to be introduced on May 20 throughout the EU.

Tobacco firms are being given a year to bring in the changes and replace their current packaging.

Health experts say 19,000 die in the Netherlands every year from the effect of smoking and millions suffer from smoking-related problems such as cancer, heart and lung disease.

Dutch Ban Vaping For Under 18s, Say More Harmful Than Thought

http://www.medicaldaily.com/dutch-ban-vaping-under-18s-say-more-harmful-thought-365102

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Electronic cigarettes and water pipes will be banned in the Netherlands for children under 18 from next year, the government said, after finding that the devices were more damaging to health than expected.

E-cigarettes, which electrically vaporize a nicotine-infused solution, are defended by their proponents as a healthier alternative to conventional cigarettes, but the government said its studies showed they were still harmful.

“With this ban I want to protect young people from the damage e-cigarettes cause,” said health state secretary Martin Van Rijn in a statement. “I also want to avoid young people thinking that these e-cigarettes in hip colors are normal.”

The government said that studies carried out by the Dutch food safety and public health institutes had shown that e-cigarettes were “more harmful than expected” to users’ health.

A recent U.S. study showed that teens and young adults who “vape” are more likely to graduate to smoking combustible cigarettes than those who do not.

The market for e-cigarettes is growing fast around the world as conventional smoking declines in response to massive public health campaigns and high sin taxes imposed on the practice.

Tobacco companies, including BAT, Philip Morris, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco, are all jostling for position in the emerging vaping market, which could top $7 billion in size this year.

The Netherlands will ban advertising of the devices when the new law comes into force in May 2016. E-cigarettes will be subject to new safety requirements and their packaging will have to carry health warnings.

The Netherlands, known for its relaxed attitude towards the consumption of soft drugs, is one of few countries left in Europe where it is still permitted to smoke indoors in certain bars.

(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch, writing by Thomas Escritt, editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

Dutch court loss produces a win

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