The tobacco industry can not be prosecuted, because tobacco manufacturers are not doing anything illegal, the court in The Hague ruled in an article 12 procedure filed by lawyer Benedicte Ficq.
The Netherlands will organize and host a global World Health Organization conference against tobacco in 2020, was announced in Geneva on Saturday during the closing ceremony of the 8th Conference of Parties of the so-called WHO-FCTC treaty. State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health took the initiative to bring the conference to the Netherlands, ANP reports.
Judge Jan Wolter Wabeke officially withdrew from a lawsuit filed by a group of anti-smokers against the tobacco industry. On Monday the lawyer representing this group, Benedicte Ficq, accused the judge of being biased. Later in the day the court in The Hague granted Wabeke's request to withdraw, NOS reports.
Ficq told the media that he learned through an acquaintance that Wabeke had been "condescending" about this case while speaking in private, saying that smoking is the smoker's own responsibility. Ficq asked him to withdraw.
Smokers inhale much higher doses of harmful substances than is stated on their cigarette packages, according to a study by Dutch public health institute RIVM. The researchers found that the amount of tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide is at least twice as high as manufacturers claim, ANP reports.
The Netherlands is immediately withdrawing from an international committee that gives the tobacco industry advice on measuring nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide in their products, according to newspaper Trouw.
The national institute for public health RIVM and the Dutch food and consumer product safety authority NVWA believe that the tobacco industry has too much influence on the committee, and therefore decided to withdraw. According to the newspaper, eight of the 10 members in the Dutch committee come from the tobacco industry.
The Public Prosecutor decided to drop a lawsuit filed against the four large tobacco producers in the Netherlands accusing them of aggravated assault and forgery, among other things. "Smoking is deadly and the design of cigarettes does add to this, but the tobacco manufacturers have not acted in violation of either the law or the current regulatory framework", the Prosecutor said in a statement on Thursday.
The municipalities of Amsterdam and Utrecht announced that they will support a lawsuit filed against the tobacco industry.
The Dutch Network for Addiction Care, an umbrella organization for various organizations dealing with addiction, is joining a major lawsuit against the tobacco industry. "The cigarette is a criminal product and all 'dealers' must be dealt with. This product is so harmful. It's unbelievable that it is just in the supermarket", spokesperson Robert van de Graaf of the network said to AD.
The Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam filed a lawsuit against the four large tobacco factories in the Netherlands, accusing them of aggravated assault with death as result. According to the hospital, the fight against cancer is a losing battle as long as the tobacco industry continues to deliberately get people addicted, AD reports.
ABN Amro is no longer accepting new customers from the tobacco industry and will no longer be investing in the sector, the bank announced on Wednesday. "The core business of the tobacco industry is not compatible with the core principles of the bank", ABN Amro said in a statement, Trouw reports.
Lawyers in 17 countries are following Dutch lawyers' lead in suing the tobacco industry for attempted murder or aggravated assault. Anti-smoking organizations and lawyers from 15 countries gathered in Geneva recently to discuss the Dutch appraoch to the, until now, unique case, AD reports.
Germany and Belgium are also interested, but did not make it to the meeting in Switzerland, according to the newspaper.
A Dutch association of doctors NTvG is financially supporting a criminal case filed by some 1,300 smokers and ex smokers against the tobacco industry, the Volkskrant reports. The association, which has about 250 doctors as members, will invest hundreds of thousands of euros of its own money into the case.
Tobacco companies will soon no longer be allowed to sell cigarette packets in the Netherlands that have decorative elements on them, State Secretary Martin van Rijn of Public Health announced on Tuesday.