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31May 2019

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The Netherlands Cancer Institute smoke-free per May 31

The Netherlands Cancer Institute will be completely smoke-free from May 31, World No Tobacco Day. Smoking inside and on the landings has not been possible for a while, but the entire outdoor area of the AVL site will now become a non-smoking area. This means that the smoking areas and ashtrays outside the buildings will disappear. Signs will clearly indicate where the smoke-free zone starts and ends.

Our objective is not compatible with smoking 

"Thirty percent of the patients we treat at the Netherlands Cancer Institute have cancer as a result of smoking. Research also shows that cancer treatment is more effective in non-smokers and that the chance of a recurrence of the disease is greater for smokers," says René Medema, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "As the Netherlands Cancer Institute, we cannot allow smoking in our hospital and on our premises any longer. We do not consider the objective of our hospital to be compatible with smoking and for that reason, we no longer want to confront patients with smoking on our premises."

Nicotine replacement products for patients

This ban means that patients, visitors and employees who smoke, can no longer do so in the immediate vicinity of the AVL. "Such a decision has major consequences for them because smoking is one of the most serious addictions. "But we still support this decision, it is inevitable," says Medema. "Patients who are admitted to our hospital may receive nicotine replacement products during their stay to help them through the time they cannot smoke. Patients who want to quit are welcome to visit our Stop Smoking clinic. There they will receive advice and guidance for a year to quit smoking permanently." Employees that smoke will also receive support if they want to quit smoking.

Smoke-free generation

On March 7 of this year, eight care institutions in Amsterdam, including the AVL, offered alderman Simone Kukenheim a letter containing a call for their buildings to not only be smoke-free inside but also in the immediate vicinity outside. The organizations, which have also joined forces in the Amsterdam Smoke Alarm, strive for a smoke-free generation and want to set the right example in the city.

Report filed against tobacco industry

The Netherlands Cancer Institute opposes smoking in general and the tobacco industry (which produces the so-called cheat cigarettes) in particular. The Netherlands Cancer Institute was the first hospital/research institute to file a report in the ongoing criminal case against four major tobacco companies in 2018. René Medema at the time: "I think it is criminal if you continue to put a product on the market while you know that the health risks associated with that product are higher than legally permitted. That is unacceptable."

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