Alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco cause a great deal of suffering for those affected and high consequential costs for society. Besides the "classic" addictions, there are also "new" forms such as dependence on prescription drugs, gambling or excessive use of the Internet.


Advertising ban for tobacco and alcohol products protects public health

Lead article. Advertising persuades children and adolescents to take a positive view of alcohol and tobacco. It makes little difference whether or not the advertising message is aimed directly at them. Full-scale bans on advertising are politically controversial, but – if combined with other measures – they would afford better protection against the subtle influences and clever advertising strategies of tobacco and alcohol producers. In Switzerland, producers are subject to fewer restrictions than in other European countries. more


Help for people who gamble excessively

Preventing addictive gambling. Addictive gambling, or gambling disorder, is a growing social problem. In Switzerland, about three percent of the population, i. e. some 250,000 people, are directly affected; if family members are included, then approximately one fifth of the inhabitants of our country suffer from the consequences of excessive gambling behaviour. The new Article 106 of the Swiss Constitution empowers the Swiss government to set up a comprehensive legal framework for regulating gambling – creating an opportunity for a key shift in prevention policy. But will the opportunity be grasped? more


Indulgence and risk, or why indulgence has a preventive effect

The ability to cope with indulgence helps prevent addiction. The ability to indulge in, or enjoy, something is a precondition of a fulfilled life, and the ability to identify the point at which indulgence takes on dangerous dimensions will protect the individual and society from negative consequences. Individuals therefore need to possess the ability to cope with indulgence, and the community needs to have rules that set boundaries to individual freedom wherever it harms the community. more


"Indulgence or addiction" at the Fumetto Comix Festival

Prevention partnership. What do we actually mean by indulgence? And when does indulgence become addiction – particularly in young people? To find this out and to launch a corresponding dialogue, the Federal Office of Public Health and Fumetto Comix Festival Lucerne have organised a competition on the topic of "Indulgence or addiction". more


New system of public order fines for cannabis use

Revision of the Narcotics Act. As of 1 October 2013, adults caught using cannabis are now fined 100 francs and no longer charged with drug use. more


From freedom symbol to commonplace addictive substance

Smoking and society. Smoking was still regarded as absolutely normal just a few decades ago. In fact, it was not only accepted, it was positively celebrated, as a "torch of freedom". Nowadays, the wind of freedom is blowing from another direction: for anyone who wants to feel free and enjoy life, smoking is out. more


Lifestyle has an influence on health – but what influences lifestyle?

Determinants of health. A healthy lifestyle could prevent many chronic diseases. But lifestyle – like health in general – varies considerably throughout our society. The boundaries between healthy and unhealthy often parallel those of social distinctions. One of the main tasks of health promotion and disease prevention is to enable health equality. This calls primarily for structural measures – because these also influence lifestyle. more


Tobacco control is a human right

Tobacco control. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan calls for human rights concerns to play a greater role in the fight against the tobacco industry. more


International experts on substitution treatment meet in Geneva

Conferences on opioid dependence. Two conferences on the treatment of opioid dependence were held concurrently in Geneva on 18 and 19 October: NaSuKo (3rd national conference on substitution treatment) and TOD (3rd francophone international symposium on the treatment of opioid dependence). More than 450 experts from Switzerland and a number of other French-speaking countries attended the two conferences. more


Covert tobacco advertising on the Internet

Online marketing. Tobacco advertising is forbidden or restricted in many countries. However, the tobacco industry is increasingly finding new ways of getting round these obstacles on the virtually uncontrolled and uncontrollable Web 2.0. more