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Smoking society possible within 20 years

Op weg naar de rookvrije samenlevingLooking in the glass ball is fun, even though predictions for the future do not always come true. Where are the flying cars? And a Roomba vacuum cleaner is just a little bit different than a robot assistant in the house. Since the early 1970s, the acceptance of smoking has declined sharply. This is due to multiple social, cultural, financial and legal factors. With the current anti-smoking trend, and the emergence of alternatives such as the e-cigarette, the downward trend seems to be continuing. Will our society be smoke-free in twenty years?

  • In 1996, the first step towards a smoke-free society in the Netherlands was made when Minister Borst published her memorandum “Tobacco Control Policy” in the House of Representatives. This document resulted from a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Economic Affairs.
  • A revised Tobacco Act was introduced in 2002. This included a smoking ban in the workplace, a complete ban on the promotion of smoking products and a minimum age of 16 years on smoking. This was an important step towards a smoke-free society.
  • The Worldwide Tobacco Day was ratified in 2005. This meant that excise taxes rose, anti-smoking campaigns increased, and the tobacco lobby was no longer so often at the table with government agencies.
  • In 2011, help to quit smoking became part of the basic health insurance package. Devices to quit were reimbursed from that year. Electric cigarettes are not part of this in the Netherlands, in countries such as England and France this alternative is much more promoted.
  • Between 2014 and 2016, the scary pictures on cigarette packs came, the minimum age was raised to 18, and smoking was no longer allowed in catering establishments. These measures confirm that smoking is no longer socially acceptable.

In twenty years from now smoking will continue, but it will probably not be taken for granted anywhere else in the world. In addition to legislation, public opinion has also changed; smoking is simply no longer interesting or attractive.