January 12, 2017
Dutch doctors will help pay for a criminal case being brought against four tobacco companies that are active in the Netherlands. The association behind the production of the Dutch Journal of Medicine (NTvG) is providing financial support to the lawsuit.
In September 2016, a lawsuit was filed by a Dutch anti-smoking foundation and people who suffer from smoking-related illnesses. They blame the tobacco companies for intentionally adding substances to their cigarettes that make the product more addictive. The case is not about compensation but about prosecuting tobacco companies for “wilfully producing addictive cigarettes and prejudicing people’s health with premeditation”.
Since a few years, doctors and other health workers in the country have become more vocal on the issue of smoking and its human rights aspects. Many health-care organizations and associations have joined the national anti-smoking alliance, and recently, also the NTvG Association has joined this group of organizations. “This is a firm and perhaps unique position for a magazine and an association of doctors,” the journal wrote in an editiorial. However, in order to be truly successful in the fight against smoking, further political support will be necessary, the editors state.
Meanwhile, the Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre in The Netherlands has started a research project on the rights of children to a tobacco-free environment. With the health rights of children as a starting point, this project aims to strengthen the regulation of tobacco, with a specific emphasis on such regulation in Europe.
This three-year project, which is carried out with a grant from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF), has three interconnected goals:
- Analysing and identifying the rights of children to a tobacco-free environment
- Generating new knowledge on tobacco control regulation in Europe
- Creation of the European Network on Law and Tobacco (ENLT)