20.04.2017 At first-hand

Editorial. When the Prevention Act of 2012 failed in the Council of States, it was not the Act itself that was defeated. At that stage, no one doubted that prevention works. In fact, it failed because of the discussion about the spending freeze, which was somewhat ironic.

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TODO CHRISTIAN

When the Prevention Act of 2012 failed in the Council of States, it was not the Act itself that was defeated. At that stage, no one doubted that prevention works. In fact, it failed because of the discussion about the spending freeze, which was somewhat ironic. After all, the whole idea of implementing the Prevention Act was to curb future healthcare costs, and to do so with relatively little financial expenditure. If one looks at how much has been spent on measures for prevention and health promotion, one can see that this expenditure is certainly worthwhile: every franc invested in tobacco prevention saves 41 francs in costs; for prevention of alcohol abuse, the savings amount to 23 francs. About half of all non-communicable diseases are influenced by the individual's lifestyle, which shows how important it is to get regular exercise, eat a balanced diet, drink in moderation and give up smoking. People who do this not only stay healthy for longer – they can also participate more actively in their private and working lives with more enjoyment and a better quality of life.

The National Prevention Programmes that operated from 2008 until 2016 not only showed people how to live a healthier lifestyle, they also created structures throughout Switzerland to enable partners and stakeholders to campaign for reduced alcohol, tobacco and drug consumption in a coordinated, efficient and targeted way, and to promote exercise and a balanced diet. Starting this year, the national 'Addiction' and 'NCD' strategies bring the previous programmes together. They are intended to facilitate communication between stakeholders further and apply the available funds even more effectively. People should be approached where they spend time – at home, at work or as patients. Their particular stage of life (e.g. marriage, employment, crises) and especially their transitions from one stage to another should be taken into account.

At this point, we would like to sincerely thank all the partners who have helped to implement the programmes, and who are now engaged in implementing the addiction and NCD strategies for the health of the Swiss population.

Andrea Arz de Falco
Vice-Director Federal Office of Public Health

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