Only half of Dutch schools smoke-free: NGO

According to a study commissioned by the Longfonds, half of all schools in secondary education in the Netherlands now have a non-smoking school ground.

More and more high schools are opting for a non-smoking school ground. According to Longfonds, two years ago only a quarter of schools had non-smoking school grounds, now half the schools participate. Zeeland and Overijssel have the least non-smoking schools, with 21 and 34 percent respectively. In Flevoland 60 percent of schools have non-smoking grounds and Limburg has 55 percent.

According to Longfonds, smoking and passive smoking are the main causes for health problems in the Netherlands, 19 thousand people die from the effects of smoking every year. "Children copy each otherr's behavior and are easy to influence." says Michael Rutgers, director of Longfonds. "Healthy lungs must stay healthy. Half of the children who smoke die from it." The Longfonds is therefore calling for completely smoke-free school grounds.

In July last year the Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) adopted a motion which aims to work towards 100 percent smoke-free school grounds. The Longfonds, the Ministry of Health and the Education Sector councils are currently preparing a plan to implement the motion.