It is not the first time the Netherlands Cancer Institute speaks out against the tobacco industry. Last year, the Board of Directors called on the negotiators of the current government, asking them to work on a tobacco-free society in this new government term as well. According to the NKI, smoking is one of the most serious addictions, the tobacco industry knows that and acts upon it in a scandalous way. The blame for the addiction therefore lies with the tobacco industry, not with those who have knowingly been made addicted.
For the Netherlands Cancer Institute, the 'Hippocratic Oath' taken by physicians, combined with the NKI's goals and evolving insights, has induced the organisation to file a report at this very moment. Medema: "Our goal is to understand cancer and to improve cancer treatments. It cannot be that this goal is not achieved and is interfered with by tobacco manufacturers. Based on our mission on the one hand, the oath taken by our physicians on the other hand and the social responsibility it involves, we believe that we have to take action. By being the first to file a report, we hope that many other doctors, hospitals and/or research institution will follow."
The report in the current criminal case against tobacco manufacturers was filed by criminal lawyer Bénédicte Ficq with the Public Prosecution Service in Amsterdam today. In 2016, on behalf of a number of social organisations and patients, she pressed charged against the four largest tobacco manufacturers that are active in the Netherlands. The charges are grievous bodily harm, intentionally injuring people's health and forgery of documents. And now the NKI joins the case. Ficq is very pleased with these steps and the call of the Netherlands Cancer Institute: "Doctors should gain a much more thorough understanding of nicotine addiction in order to inform their patients better. Explaining them how they are being lied to, what nicotine addiction is and how malicious and vicious manufacturers and the product are", says Ficq. "You're not only a good doctor if you treat your patients well, but also if you believe that you have a preventative, informational role. The steps taken by the NKI are an enormous help. The tobacco industry must be stopped. Especially given the fact that the industry is now trying to induce vulnerable people in the third world to start smoking en masse. This is incredibly criminal in my opinion."