Anti-smoking club breaks ties with lung doctors for being too confrontational: report

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The Netherlands Smoke Free Alliance put two lung doctors out of the alliance of tobacco fighters because the way they operate is too confrontational, Trouw reports. 

The Netherlands Smoke Free Alliance is a collaboration of 155 companies, municipalities, hospitals and doctors associations. The two lung doctors involved are Wanda de Kanter and Pauline Dekker. With their foundation for youth smoking prevention and website TabakNee.nl, they campaign fiercely against the tobacco industry as well as politicians who they believe are too soft on the industry, according to the newspaper.

Earlier this month Alliance president Floris Italianer, also director of the Hart Foundation, wrote the two doctors a letter informing them that they are no longer part of the Alliance. Before that cancer association KWF already stopped subsidizing TabakNee.nl, due to "differences of opinion and concrete irritation and dissatisfaction with certain activities", according to Trouw.

What sparked this fallout was an article that appeared on TabaNee.nl, the newspaper writes. The article called for State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health to replace former parliamentarian Jolande Sap as chairman of a group of experts with the task of coming up with ways to stop smoking for the National Prevention Agreement. According to the article, as commissioner at advisory organization KPMG, Sap is not suitable to chair this group of experts because the KPMG conducted "dubious investigations" on behalf of tobacco producers. 

Blokhuis did not replace Sap, but KWF was furious about the article, Trouw reports. KWF demanded that the article be removed from the site, calling it "potentially harmful to our contribution to the Prevention Agreement". But De Kanter and Dekker decided to leave the article online, resulting in their subsidy being stopped at the start of this year and them being kicked out of the Alliance, according to the newspaper.

De Kanter told Trouw that she is upset by what happened, but would give no further response. 

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