In 2014 and 2015, Youth Smoking Prevention brought a case against the State of the Netherlands in order to end the structural, far too great influence of the tobacco lobby on the government’s anti-smoking policy. The request: enforcement of article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC.
This case revolved around Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of the World Health Organization (WHO). This convention dates from 2005 and has been countersigned and ratified by the Netherlands.
Article 5.3 stipulates that the government must not give the tobacco lobby any opportunity to influence the development of tobacco control policy. In short, the government must keep the door closed to the tobacco lobby.
Frequent contact with lobbyists
Until 2015, that was by no means the case. Research by Youth Smoking Prevention showed that civil servants and cabinet members had frequent contacts with representatives of the tobacco industry, also about measures to control tobacco use.
The door is now closed
The claim of Youth Smoking Prevention was eventually rejected, but by then the State Secretary of Health had already drawn up a protocol for government officials for dealing with the tobacco industry. That directive has now turned out to be quite effective: tobacco lobbyists complain that they no longer have access to the government.
In its dealings with the tobacco industry the European Commission should follow the example of the Netherlands, the European lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory and the European Public Health Alliance argue. Dutch transparency in this area was enforced in 2015 by Youth Smoking Prevention.
The court in The Hague ruled against the Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation today in the case against the Dutch State over illegal contacts of the government with the tobacco industry and its lobby. Nevertheless the court case has led to huge progress in the way the Dutch government relates to the tobacco industry.
Does Article 5.3 of the FCTC convention from the World Health Organization relating to policies to control tobacco consumption take effect immediately? And does the Dutch State act unlawfully by not complying with the provisions of this Article? That is the key issue in the case taken by the Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation against the State, which was heard today in court in The Hague. The court will deliver its verdict on 9 November.
Dutch chest physician Wanda de Kanter (Netherlands Cander Institute, Amsterdam), president of the Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation, was invited to do a poster presentation at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer, taking place September 6-9, 2015 in Denver, Colorado.
The Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation is taking the Kingdom of the Netherlands to court to end the structural and excessive influence exerted by the tobacco lobby on government anti-smoking policies.
Youth Smoking Prevention (YSP) aims to make smoking history by ensuring that children do not start smoking. The foundation tries to persuade politicians to strongly increase the excise duty on tobacco and to significantly reduce the number of tobacco outlets. YSP is publisher of the independent website TabakNee!, which exposes the strategies and practices of the tobacco lobby. YSP also tries to turn the tide through grassroot campaigns and lawsuits against the Dutch State and the tobacco industry.