Health main reason to quit smoking

In 2016, the main reasons for smokers to give up smoking were the health of their children and their own health. Advice and encouragement by a care provider was another important motivation. This is shown by an additional module as part of the Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor which is conducted every two years by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction (the Trimbos Institute) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

Reasons for smokers to quit, 2016
 % (%)
Concerns over children's health90.9
Concerns over one's own health86.7
Advice from care provider75.9
Advice or support from family or friends64.7
Availability of free or inexpensive medication51.2
Price increases of tobacco products48.1
Social disapproval36.7
Health warnings on packages21.5
Media campaigns21.2
Support via helpline (phone or internet)14.1
Source: CBS, Trimbos, RIVM

One-third of Dutch smokers aged 18 or older made a serious effort to quit in 2016, roughly the same as in the preceding two years. Major reasons for smokers to quit or attempt to quit are concerns over the health of their children (91 percent) and their own health (87 percent).

Around 21 percent of smokers say that health warnings on cigarette packages and in media campaigns prompted or would prompt them to (try and) quit smoking.

Smokers with cessation advice from care provider(s), 2016*
Lower educated41.7
Medium educated31.9
Higher educated24.9
18 to 19 yrs13.9
20 to 24 yrs21
25 to 29 yrs 25.4
30 to 39 yrs31.9
40 to 49 yrs35.6
50 to 64 yrs39.3
65 to 74 yrs45.8
75 yrs or older34.1
Source: CBS, Trimbos, RIVM
*Smokers aged 18 years or older who have consulted at least one care provider in the past 12 months

Health care professional’s advice

Part of the smokers were urged to stop smoking by a care provider, for example a general practitioner, medical specialist, psychologist, dentist or obstetrician. One-third of those smokers who had consulted a health care provider at least once over the 12 months prior to the survey were given the advice to quit. Lower-educated, older and/or daily smokers were more likely to be given smoking cessation advice than other smokers. For approximately three-quarters of smokers, this advice would be a reason to (try and) quit.

Of the group who were urged to quit by a care provider, 37 percent were advised to use medical means such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or electronic cigarettes, seek professional guidance or use online help tools or (mobile) apps.

Quitting pays off, at any age

A recent study by CBS and the Trimbos Institute shows that smoking cessation has a positive effect, at any age. Among smokers who quit around the age of 50, the mortality risk is reduced by half. The survey shows that one in four heavy smokers die before their 65th birthday. The life expectancy of heavy smokers (more than twenty cigarettes per day) is on average 13 years shorter than that of people who have never smoked.

Share of smokers in population aged 18 years or older, 2016
  Total of smokers (%)Daily smokers (%)Non-daily smokers (%)
18 to 19 yrs26.713.713
20 to 24 yrs28.916.912
25 to 29 yrs28.121.46.7
30 to 39 yrs29.121.18
40 to 49 yrs26.321.25.1
50 to 64 yrs25.921.74.2
65 to 74 yrs16133
75 yrs or older10.38.91.4
Source: CBS, Trimbos, RIVM

Smaller share of smokers

Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of Dutch adults indicated to have smoked (occasionally) in 2016; a slight decrease compared to 2015, when this share was 26 percent. Around one-third of adults are ex-smokers and the majority (44 percent) of Dutch people aged 18 years or older say they have never smoked at all.

E-cigarette used by small group of smokers

Slightly over three-quarters (77 percent) of adult smokers smoke on a daily basis. They mainly smoke cigarettes from a packet (74 percent). Forty percent (also) smoke rolling tobacco and 18 percent use self-made cigarettes. Men are more likely to smoke rolling tobacco, while cigarettes from a packet or self-made cigarettes are more popular among women. A small portion of adults (3 percent) occasionally smoked an e-cigarette in 2016.