Progress in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is showing progress in complying with the obligations in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) since it ratified the treaty in 2005. However, there is still work to do, according to the latest Dutch shadow report.
Framework Convention Alliance Director Laurent Huber said the report’s findings demonstrate that there is hope for the near future.
The hope stems from several policy moves since the last report, including tightening and greater enforcement of smokefree laws, raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products, recognition of the problem posed by tobacco industry interference in public policy, an increase in tobacco excise taxes, and a renewed public education campaign.
“These are vital steps,” said Laurent in the preface to the report. “They move the Netherlands closer to international best practices, and will no doubt have an impact on the health of Dutch citizens. The coming implementation of the EU Tobacco Products Directive promises to push policy forward further.”
19,000 deaths yearly
Every year in the Netherlands more than 19,000 people die from the consequences of smoking and several thousand die from the consequences of passive smoking. As in many countries, smoking is by far the leading preventable cause of mortality and morbidity in the country.
The Netherlands ratified the FCTC in January 2005. In April 2014 the Dutch government submitted its fourth progress report. As a counterpart to these official government reports, non-government organisations produce shadow reports to evaluate whether governments are complying with FCTC obligations.
The Dutch Heart Foundation, Dutch Cancer Society and Dutch Lung Foundation released the shadow report in January 2015, which coincides with the Netherlands’ 10 year ratification anniversary. This report focuses on developments since the first report was released in 2012.
The report’s main recommendations to the Dutch government include:
- Develop a comprehensive, multisectoral national tobacco control strategy.
- Take further measures to protect tobacco control policies against tobacco industry interests, including the development of a protocol and increased transparency with regard to all interactions with the tobacco industry.
- Implement significant tax increases on a regular basis and use taxes to decrease the price differentials between substitutable tobacco products.
- No longer allow designated smoking rooms.
- Correctly and promptly transpose the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive and inform the public about these measures.