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The Rights of Children to a Tobacco-free Environment

11 October 2016

Globally, tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco kills nearly six million people a year, including more than 600,000 non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Children are particularly vulnerable when it comes to smoking. Research indicates that 90% of adult smokers begin while in their teens, or earlier, while two-thirds become regular, daily smokers before they reach the age of 19. In the Netherlands, 23% of the adult population and 9% of adolescents smoke on a daily basis. Every day, 100 Dutch children start smoking.

The negative consequences of smoking raise various questions in relation to human rights protection. Globally, trade, tax, and public health related measures are introduced including plain packaging and public and private smoking bans to diminish this major public health crisis.

Against this backdrop and taking the health rights of children as a start point, the project Tobacco Control, The Rights of Children to a Tobacco-free Environment aims to strengthen the regulation of tobacco, with a specific emphasis on such regulation in Europe. As such, the project has three interconnected goals:

  1. Analysing and identifying the rights of children to a tobacco-free environment
  2. Generating new knowledge on tobacco control regulation in Europe
  3. Creation of European Network on Law and Tobacco (ENLT)

This project is carried out by Marie Elske Gispen , LLM, and GHLG Director Prof. Brigit Toebes . Marie Elske joined GHLG in September 2016 as post-doctoral researcher. She will defend her PhD thesis on access to controlled medicines and aspects of drug control regulation in January 2017 at Utrecht University. The three-year project is carried out with a grant from the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF).


This article was published by the Faculty of Law.

Last modified:12 April 2019 10.43 a.m.
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