Dutch Cancer Society: The court in The Hague has rejected the complaint submitted in the so-called Article 12 procedure against cigarette manufacturers. The Dutch Cancer Society is one of the parties that filed the charges, which centre on protecting children from what have become known as ‘rigged cigarettes’.
Laura Houtenbos of the Dutch Cancer Society: ‘’I have tremendous respect for Anne Marie van Veen and Lia Breed, who were the first to file charges. They took the brave step to call the tobacco industry to account. They did this to prevent today’s children from becoming tomorrow’s victims and experience every day the serious consequences of smoking. It is totally unacceptable to knowingly mislead children with an addictive and deadly product. Our children have the right to be protected from such products. There has been widespread support for this case within society, and an irreversible process has been set in motion.”
In its verdict, the court notes:
– that this issue has given fresh impetus to the debate on smoking
– that the tobacco industry knowingly makes a harmful and addictive product for financial gain
– the importance of eliminating smoking, especially among children, in order to create a smoke-free generation.
Major strides in the battle to discourage smoking have been taken over the past two years. Thanks to the charges filed against cigarette manufacturers, `rigged cigarettes` have become common knowledge: cigarettes are much more harmful in reality than smokers realize. State Secretary for Health Paul Blokhuis is therefore calling for changes to the measurement method. There is also widespread support for the Smoke-Free Generation campaign, and the cabinet recently presented the important Prevention Agreement, which contains a number of measures to protect children against the harmful effects of tobacco.
Since the first charges were filed two years ago, dozens of declarants, among them doctors, municipal health services, addiction clinics, hospitals, schools and municipalities have lent their support to the initiative. A study in May 2018, conducted by Kantar Public and commissioned by the Dutch Cancer Society, found that a large majority (61%) of the Dutch population think it is right that cigarette manufacturers have been called to account.
Smoking causes almost 30% of all cancer mortalities in the Netherlands. That is why we will continue to do everything we can, with our partners, to protect the youth of the Netherlands from the practices of the tobacco industry and from the temptation to start smoking.
If you have any questions arising out of this update, or if you require assistance in preparing a criminal case in your own country, please do not hesitate to contact me or Laura.
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