Mechelen wants to lend a helping hand to smokers: “First smoke-free city, wouldn’t that be nice?” (Micklin)

The City of Mechelen is developing measures to help residents quit smoking. © Robin Utrecht


“The harmful impact of smoking on human health is enormous,” said Gabriella Di Francesco, a local council member on well-being. However, the city of Mechelen doesn’t want to point the finger at anyone, but it does want to help. For this you receive support from the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living.

Sven van Heisendonk

“From ‘Smoke-Free Generation’ to ‘First Smoke-Free City’, wouldn’t that be cool?” The ambition is clear for local councilman Gabriella Di Francesco (Vld-Groen-m+). “Many smokers want to quit smoking. They often start at a young age and once you depend on tobacco it is difficult to get rid of it. Through this project we can ensure that more residents have equal health opportunities,” explains the local council member.

Together with Mechelen and a few other municipalities, the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living is looking for appropriate, useful and feasible measures. In 2023, the partners want to roll out these measures. To this end, they work with local organizations that help guide and shape health policy, and also involve Mechelen residents and smokers themselves.

Smoking plays a major role in the development and persistence of health inequalities. As a result, there are significant differences in health and life expectancy between different groups of residents in our municipalities and cities,” says Stefan Hendricks, Tobacco Expert at Healthy Living. The project partners want to do something about it.

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