Health groups: We need a “smoke free” generation; 1 in 3 can’t quit cigarettes

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Three health organizations have joined forces and launched a campaign for a "smoke free generation". The campaign aims to have children grow up in a smoke-free environment and without the temptation to start smoking. Figures released by Statistics Netherlands on Friday shows that one in three smokers recently tried to quit smoking and failed. Young smokers and female smokers have a particularly hard time quitting.

The three health organizations that initiated this campaign are the Hartstichting (Heart Foundation), KWF Kankerbestrijding (the Dutch Cancer Society) and Longfonds. (Lung Fund), the Hartstichting announced on Monday.

According to the organizations, 20 thousand people in the Netherlands die every year due to smoking and second hand smoke - more than the number of deaths caused by alcohol, drugs, crime and traffic combined. And yet about 100 kids start smoking in the Netherlands every day.

The organizations have therefore decided to intervene. They will promote various large and small initiatives that work towards a smoke-free environment for children. This includes smoke-free school yards and sports associations, among others. They also want to provide better information and support for young parents. The organizations will help health centers to advise young and new parents on how they can raise their children smoke-free and assist them in this. As the child grows older, schools and sports clubs can help the parents provide a smoke-free environment for their kids.

"Parents with children should have the opportunity to let their child grow up completely smoke-free. Parents who choose to do so should be able to prevent their children continuously being confronted with the bad example of smoking people and without the temptation of shiny packets and added flavors to cigarettes." the Hartstichting writes.

According to the organizations, there is broad support for protecting children from smoking. A study done by Motivaction in February this year shows that 90 percent of the Dutch population find it important to prevent kids under the age of 18 from smoking. And 88 percent are behind the idea of optimally protecting kids against tobacco smoke. Three quarters of the population feel that parents, schools and the government should be involved in this.