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Smoke-free UG

From 2020, the amended Dutch Tobacco Act prohibits smoking on the campuses of educational institutions. This means that all properties used by the University of Groningen for educational purposes must be smoke-free.

The ban on smoking applies to everyone on the university premises; students and employees, but also suppliers and visitors. This is indicated by of signs and other markings, such as blue lines. In the long run, the university strives to normalize the idea that we all feel comfortable to ask a smoker to not smoke on university premises. Do you see someone smoking on the univeristy premises? Then kindly talk to the person and point out to them that the UG site is smoke-free.

On this page you can find more information about, amongst other things, a smoke-free university, quitting smoking, cigarettes and the environment and fraquently asked questions.

Why smoke-free?

In 2020, the new Dutch Tobacco Act entered into force, making it illegal to smoke on the premises of all educational institutions in the Netherlands. The ban creates a smoke-free working and studying environment for staff members, students and visitors. The University of Groningen is proud to contribute to a smoke-free generation.

Healthy Ageing priority area

One of the priorities of the University of Groningen is healthy ageing. The University of Groningen believes that it is important that we not only live longer but that we stay healthy while we age. The University is contributing to these priorities through the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health and its associated research centres.

Smoke-free generation

The movement to create a smoke-free generation was founded by the Hartstichting (Heart Foundation), Dutch Cancer Society KWF and the Longfonds (Lung Fund). The goal is to have a society where no young person smokes or will ever smoke by 2040. Read more in the National Preventive Agreement.

Creating a smoke-free generation together!

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Facts and figures

Who smokes?

In 2023, 19% of the population in the Netherlands aged 18 and over smoked regularly. In 2014, this number was 25.7% of the adult population. Young people between the ages of 20 and 29 smoke more than people in other age brackets. Smokers are most often found in the 25-30 age bracket: 29,3% of them are smokers and 17,7% smokes daily (source: Trimbos).

Smoking is by far the most frequent cause of illness and death in the Netherlands. It accounts for over one-eighth of the total disease burden in the Netherlands (source: Loketgezondleven).

Attempts at quitting

About 80% of smokers want to quit smoking. Every year, over 1 million smokers take the plunge and make one or more attempts to quit. In 2023, 34,4% made a serious attempt to quit. Most smokers go through several attempts before they are finally successful (source: Trimbos).

How bad is passive smoking?

When you breathe in the tobacco smoke of someone else, you are passively smoking. There are health-related risks associated with passive smoking too. For example, you are at greater risk of getting lung cancer, babies have a higher risk of dying from sudden infant death syndrome and you have a greater risk of getting a respiratory tract infection or asthma. Children who breathe in second-hand smoke are more likely to become smokers themselves (Hopman & Croes).

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Quit Smoking

There are plenty of reasons to quit, even for short periods of time. The health benefits of qutting smoking are listed below:

  • After 20 minutes, blood pressure and heart rate slow down
  • After 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal
  • After two to 12 weeks, lung function and blood circulation start to improve
  • After one to nine months, your smoker’s cough will disappear and you will feel like you can breathe more easily
  • After one year, the increased risk of coronary heart disease halves
  • After five to 15 years, the risk of having a stroke is equal to that of a non-smoker
  • After 10 years, the increased risk of lung cancer halves and the risk of other forms of cancer reduces
  • After 15 years, the risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease is equal to that of a non-smoker

Apart from all the health benefits, quitting smoking also saves you a lot of money. Smokers who smoke a pack of cigarettes per day will spend approximately €4,000 per year on this in 2024.

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Support for smokers

You can seek help in different ways if you want to quit smoking. You can do this via:

  • Your health insurance: the basic package of every health insurance reimburses a quitting smoking course once a year.
  • General Practitioner: you can make an appointment with your GP for advice. Your GP will be able to give you some advice on stopping for a short time or can refer you to a quit smoking programme. Health insurers will fully cover the cost of these programmes from 2020 onwards and you will not be required to cover part of the costs through your own contribution (eigen risico).
  • Nicotine patches or gum: nicotine replacements can be bought at your pharmacy or chemist’s.
  • : this website contains a lot of information about quitting smoking.

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Cigarettes and the environment

Smoking is not only a nuisance, but is also bad for the environment. Worldwide, approximately 75% of cigarette butts end up on the street or in nature, with the result that the toxic substances from the tobacco (and the additives contained in it) and the filter pose a threat to nature and animals.

Cigarette waste has a particularly polluting effect on ground and surface water, the organisms that live in it and on plant growth. One cigarette butt can pollute 1000L of water with heavy metals, microplastics and nicotine.

Are you unable to quit? At least prevent your cigarette butts from ending up in the street or in nature!

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Online tools

General information

Figures show that 90% of all smokers who quit return to smoking within one year. Supervision improves the chances that smokers who have quit stick to their good intentions. The use of tools proven to be effective in efforts to quit smoking improve the chances of success.

Below, you can find a list of online tools, links and apps that could be useful to you in your attempt to quit smoking:

Websites with information and tips


These apps can provide support when you quit smoking and help you to stay away from tobacco permanently.


The movement to create a smoke-free generation is a joint initiative by the Hartstichting (Heart Foundation), Dutch Cancer Society KWF and the Longfonds (Lund Fund), devised by the collaborative initiative Gezondheidsfondsen Voor Rookvrij (Health Funds for Smoke Free). Website:

Health funds for no-smoking

The purpose of the smoke-free generation is to allow every child who is born to grow up entirely smoke free. Website (in Dutch):

Headed toward a smoke-free generation

The Healthy Ageing Network Noord-Nederland (HANNN) is an independent foundation, launched in 2009 to contribute to ‘more healthy years’ in the Northern Netherlands. How do we create an environment that makes it easier to live healthily? Based on this question, HANNN is building coalitions in the area of healthy living, sports and exercise, local healthcare (personalized & customized healthcare), healthy nutrition and healthy skills. Website:


The Trimbos Institute develops, implements and shares information and expertise about smoking and tobacco control. By informing the general public and through cooperation with professionals, scientists and governments, they aim to contribute to a lower illness and death rate as a result of tobacco consumption. Website:


The website was made by the Trimbos Institute and commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The website includes lots of useful tips to help you quit smoking. Website:

Why am I not allowed to smoke on campus?

This is a result of the Dutch Tobacco Act, which prohibits smoking in or outside the properties of educational institutions and entered into force on 1 August 2020.

Where will I be allowed to smoke?

Smoking is only allowed outside UG buildings and premises. The Zernike Campus is also fully smokefree. Please make sure not to cause any nuisance in the area's located just outside university terrains.

When does the smoking ban apply?

The smoking ban applies 24/7 on all university premises.

Does the smoking ban apply to cigarettes only?

The smoking ban applies to traditional tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, water pipes, herbal cigarettes and nicotine-free tobacco.

Where do I throw my cigarette butt?

After extinguishing your cigarette, you can throw it away in the metal waste bins that can be found throughout the city. Is there no waste bin nearby? Then use a pocket ashtray. You can pick up a free pocket ashtray from Groningen Schoon Dankzij Mij at the Green Office (Visserstraat 49). We would like to ask you to adhere to the house rules and not to smoke on UG grounds.

Smoke-free Generation
Last modified:13 May 2024 2.28 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands