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Palgrave Macmillan
Book cover

Tobacco Control Policy in the Netherlands

Between Economy, Public Health, and Ideology

  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2018

You have full access to this open access Book


  • Compares tobacco control in the Netherlands with other countries in Europe, and explains why Dutch tobacco control seems so arduous and slow
  • Offers recommendations for tobacco control activists and, by extension, for those working on the control of other unhealthy commodities such as alcohol
  • Appeals to students and scholars of public policy, public health, health promotion, medicine, psychology, and social sciences

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Public Health Policy Research (PSPHPR)

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Table of contents (11 chapters)


About this book

Governments have known since the 1960s that smoking results in irreversible health damage. This open access book examines why governments have done so little to combat this when they have been aware of the problem and its solutions for decades. What are the strategies and decisions that make a difference, given that policy environments are often not conducive to change? Taking the Netherlands as an example, this book helps to understand the complex policy process at the national level and why it so often appears irrational to us. It is the most sophisticated analysis of tobacco control policy to date, applying insights from political sciences to the field of tobacco control.


“Willemsen’s book, drawing from his experience as both a scientist and practitioner, provides the best of both worlds. He provides a clear way into a complicated field of policy studies, and for policy scholars he demonstrates how practical scholars make sense of policy theory. The result is impressive, providing a theoretically-informed, empirically rich, and incredibly readable account of tobacco policy in the Netherlands.” (Paul Cairney, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, University of Stirling, UK) 

“This book is a measured and fascinating story of the challenges faced in trying to advance tobacco control in the Netherlands. It is a thoroughly wise book that reveals a deep understanding of just how hard it is to enact social change, and all advocates for tobacco control should read it. Indeed any participant in the political process stands to see their efforts reflected in its pages.” (Ron Borland, Nigel Gray Distinguished Fellow in Cancer Prevention, VicHealth Center for Tobacco Control, Australia)



Authors and Affiliations

  • Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

    Marc C. Willemsen

About the author

Marc C. Willemsen is Professor of Tobacco Control Research at the Department of Health Promotion, University of Maastricht, the Netherlands. He started tobacco research in 1989 and has since become a recognised expert in the field of tobacco control. He wrote and contributed to numerous research studies and scientific papers. In addition to his academic work, he gained first hand insights into the policy making process while working for various national tobacco control organisations. 

Bibliographic Information

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