The number of smoke-free sports clubs in the Netherlands has grown considerably in recent years: on 1 September, more than 550 sports clubs had adopted a tobacco-free policy, up from just over 150 last year. A similar sharp increase can be seen among football clubs: up from 57 in 2017 to 208 so far this year.
The fact that so many Dutch clubs choose to become smoke-free is in line with widespread social support for tobacco-free sports in the country. As many as eight out of ten Dutch people would want the red card to be shown to sports grounds where children are exposed to smoke.
Floris Italianer, the director of the Dutch Heart Foundation, is pleased with the results. "Smoking is increasingly being perceived as deviating from the norm, particularly when children are around. We see that more and more municipalities are assuming their responsibility; they’re taking action to persuade clubs to turn their playing areas and other local facilities into smoke-free zones. Everyone wants their children to grow up in a healthy environment, and smoking simply doesn’t fit into this. Sports clubs are important places in children’s lives as they grow up, and by going smoke-free, they can become a truly healthy environment."
Smoking is increasingly being perceived as deviating from the norm, particularly when children are around.
The campaign 'Together for a tobacco-free generation' is a joint initiative of the Heart Foundation, the Dutch Cancer Society and the Lung Foundation. The KNVB has been one of their partners since 2017 and actively promotes more smoke-free football clubs, offering practical tools to management.