Dutch government bans sale of cigarettes in supermarkets from 2024
Ban on cigarettes in Dutch supermarkets
This announcement is the latest in a string of decisions made by the government in an attempt to deter smoking as part of the National Prevention Agreement. It comes as part of a package of a number of bans that will be introduced over the coming years, all targeted at reducing the accessibility of cigarettes and tobacco products in the Netherlands.
In 2022, a ban on all cigarette machines will come into effect, and in 2023, companies will no longer be allowed to sell tobacco online. The ban on cigarette machines, which can regularly be found in bars and clubs across the country, is expected to reduce the number of sales points of tobacco and cigarettes from approximately 16.000 to just over 10.000.
The government expects that the ban of the sale of cigarettes and tobacco in supermarkets will reduce the number of smokers in the Netherlands by around 120.000 by 2030. Supermarkets currently make up about 55 percent of tobacco sales in the Netherlands, and the ban will affect approximately 6.400 supermarkets.
Blokhuis: Making quitting easier and starting harder
This legislation is part of a government plan to phase out tobacco sales in stores to the point where only specialist retailers will be allowed to stock and sell cigarettes and tobacco products after 2030. The next steps in this plan are expected to be the ban of cigarettes in petrol stations and convenience stores.
In a statement, State Secretary Paul Blokhuis said: “We now think it is a strange idea that you could once smoke on the train or in a restaurant. Being able to buy cigarettes everywhere will come to an end in the future, and this makes it easier for smokers and ex-smokers to resist the temptation. It becomes more difficult for children to start at all.”
Blokhuis aims to work towards a smoke-free generation by 2040 - meaning that no young person will smoke. A number of steps have been taken to work towards this goal: the price of tobacco products rose by one euro, cigarettes and tobacco are out of sight in all supermarkets, the indoor smoking ban was extended to included e-cigarettes, platforms at train stations became smoke-free, and lastly, tobacco products can now only be sold in neutral packaging.