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Thursday, February 15, 2018


Smoking, a pleasure or death for sale?

Smoking, a pleasure or death for sale?

Guest opinion -  For years I have a Google Alert on the word 'smoking ban.' In recent years, that yielded on average about five alerts per month. In the last few months, more than two per day have been taken by the bank. 

The anti-smoking is so strong again: no self-respecting member of the medical community, individual or organization, apparently counts more if he does not take a strong position against the tobacco industry. 

Organizations are now queuing up to join a criminal trial against the tobacco industry, and hospitals are pushing to proclaim a smoke-free hospital site.

Anti-smoking has become a religious movement, perhaps a sectarian, complete with God and Devil. The tobacco industry is the Devil and the friends of the doctors, the pharmaceutical industry, is God.

Those who play no role at all in this battle are smokers themselves. They are crushed between these two parties and not even consulted when making decisions. 

Despite what the anti-smoking lobby claims, there are still many smokers who do not want to stop at all and certainly do not want to wait for forced withdrawal through non-working pharmaceutical solutions such as nicotine patches and, even worse, anti-depressants.

Hospital grounds

Non-smoking hospital grounds is the last bully that the anti-smoking lobby for smokers has come up with. Until now, this is the most inhumane measure that has been absorbed from the medical circuit: precisely when people and therefore also smokers (yes, smokers are people too!) 

Experience the most stress, during a hospital stay, they become their most important relieving stress, smoking, being taken away. That this does not benefit their recovery is obvious to every normal person, but apparently not the medical world.

In addition, it is questionable how smokings ban on the premises for smokers who only undergo a short-term admission, will make a difference. 

They will already pick up their first cigarette in the car in the car park after their discharge. A smoking ban will also discourage the willingness of smoking patients to be hospitalized. All this does not benefit the quality of care for patients and even counterproductive!

Medical ethics

You wonder how the medical sector has been able to sink so deeply. Does it have to do with the medical training in which insufficient attention is paid to the human, social component of care? 

Is there internal pressure within the medical sector to support you behind the prevailing doctrine because otherwise, you do not count or, even worse, miss out on sponsorship? 

Does the sector still have a critical view of what is being pursued? Or does the close interwovenness of medical specialists and organizations with the pharmaceutical nicotine industry play a role? Does the anti-tobacco lobby realize what major social, psychological and economic damage is being caused in this society?

Independent research on the effectiveness of all the anti-smoking measures that have been introduced in recent decades does not exist. Research in this area that does exist is in most cases financed by stakeholders and is therefore not objective.


'Primum nil nocere' ('do not do any damage first') is one of the most important starting points of the medical profession but has been trampled over the last decades when it comes to the fight against smoking (and smokers). 

How individual medics can accept that for their own feelings is a mystery to me unless one consoles itself with the misleading statement that seventy-five percent of smokers want to quit and have a cough and social exclusion for them.

Original article published in Dutch online newspaper – By

Wiel Maessen from Alem has been active internationally and nationally since 1999 in the fight against the anti-smoking lobby. He stood at the cradle of the resistance of the small catering industry against the smoking ban in the small cafes.

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