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Feature Tobacco

Dutch government in court for violating international tobacco treaty

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 20 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2519
  1. Lucas Mevius, news editor, Dutch Journal of Medicine
  1. l.mevius{at}

Lucas Mevius reports on attempts to force the Dutch government to stop talking to the tobacco industry

Public health campaigners in the Netherlands are taking the Dutch state to court in an attempt to force it to end what they say is the excessive influence of the tobacco industry on the government’s antismoking policies.

According to the Dutch Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation,1 2 the government is systematically breaching the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),3 to which the Netherlands has been a signatory since 2003.

“Our main goal is to install a firewall around the government that blocks all influence of the tobacco industry,” says Wanda de Kanter, a pulmonologist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, who cofounded the foundation in 2009 with Pauline Dekker of the Red Cross Hospital, Beverwijk.

The foundation’s action is based on article 5.3 of the legally binding convention, which came into force in February 2005. This states that “In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these …

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