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Tobacco

We develop, implement and disseminate knowledge and expertise about smoking, tobacco use prevention and smoking cessation

It provides health education about tobacco use and works together with health professionals, scientists and local and national authorities to help reduce the illness and mortality associated with tobacco use.

All about smoking cessation

Every day, about 75 Dutch children begin smoking cigarettes daily. Ten per cent of them are ready to quit within a month. In January we began releasing our video entitled The Quit Smoking Soap Opera, showing how two young people go about stopping smoking. The app Stopstone, released later in the year, supports young people in their attempts to quit.

On 20 May, the website I’m Quitting Now (ikstopnu.nl) went live, along with its accompanying telephone help service Stoplijn. They were officially opened by the state secretary for health, Martin van Rijn. The website and the helpline were commissioned by the Health Ministry in conjunction with the revised Tobacco Act. In collaboration with the Dutch College of General Practitioners (NHG), we also published the second revision of the Dutch-language Guidelines for Tobacco Dependence Treatment and Smoking Cessation Support. On 9 September, enrolment began for Stoptober 2016, a 28-day collective stop-smoking effort held annually in October. Participants receive positive, motivational feedback via an app and they swap experiences on Facebook. More than 38,000 people took part in 2014 and over 70,000 in 2015. In 2016, 53,303 smoking quitters signed up via the Stoptober website.

New tobacco legislation

On 20 May, the revised Tobacco Act came into effect. One of its measures requires combined text and graphic warnings on cigarette and tobacco packets. The Netherlands Expertise Centre for Tobacco Control (NET) published a Dutch-language factsheet summarising findings in the literature about the effects of such warnings on smoking prevention and cessation. We also published the Dutch-language information leaflet Smoking See, Smoking Do? It highlights the strong probability that children and adolescents who see other people smoking will feel encouraged to start smoking themselves.

Smoking and pregnancy

Some 8.6 per cent of pregnant women, predominantly with lower levels of education, smoke daily during pregnancy. That has serious consequences for an unborn child. Our Dutch-language report entitled Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Interventions for Pregnant Women summarised the literature on such interventions and their effectiveness. In July, we presented our silent video Smokeless Pregnancy, designed for showing in health care waiting rooms. It makes pregnant women aware of the health benefits of quitting smoking.

International activities

In collaboration with Trimbos Institute fellow David Wetter, we are conducting a project entitled Environmental Tobacco Exposure as a Pathway to Youth Addiction. Combining a diary study with EEG plus fMRI measurements, we explore the potentially addictive effects of passive smoking. Our research sample includes both adolescents who have never smoked and those who have just started experimenting with tobacco.

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