Addiction doctor Jeroen Hinneman published a letter on LinkedIn to the House of Representatives calling addiction clinics to be made accessible for cigarette addicts. He writes, “If we want to put an end to the more than 20,000 deaths a year as a result of smoking, we will have to pursue other policies”.
The letter essentially states that cigarette addiction is a real addiction likewise to drug and alcohol addiction, and should be treated accordingly. Hinneman argues cigarette addicts are left behind by the health system. He says that his addiction clinic they often receive phone calls from smokers who have to be turned down, as such clinical treatment is not covered by a basic package of health insurance. However, health insurers are not at fault as it’s the government that determines the content of the basic package, reports AD.
There are other ways in place for cigarette addicts who wish to quit. This involves courses or medications, but this is often not enough for heavy smokers, according to Hinneman. These are the people clinics have to be made accessible to, argues Robert de Graaf of the Netherlands Association for Addiction Medicine (VVGN). Graaf says, “It is not about millions of people, but serious addicts who have tried everything else.”
I am no expert on addiction policy, but I would have expected accessible clinical treatment for smokers in the Netherlands to already exist, likewise to alcohol and drug addicts. Hinneman’s stat on how cigarette smoking kills 20,000 a year in the Netherlands tells us all we need to know. Also, aren’t all those people with smoking-related illnesses costly for the government? It seems as if the right thing to do is also the logical thing to do.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments, below!