Sale of cigarettes in the Netherlands to be restricted to tobacconists from 2032
In an ongoing effort to reduce the number of smokers in the Netherlands, the Dutch government intends to ban the sale of cigarettes in all shops and supermarkets that aren’t specialist tobacco stores from 2032, sources from The Hague have told De Telegraaf.
Dutch government working towards a smoke-free generation by 2040
Over the past several years, the Dutch government has implemented a variety of measures to restrict the sale of cigarettes and make the idea of smoking less appealing to youngsters. Through the National Prevention Agreement, the government is working towards a smoke-free generation by 2040 - meaning that no young person will smoke.
So far, all packaging has been changed so that cigarettes and rolling tobacco are sold in neutral brown packaging, and in 2024 a ban on the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products in supermarkets will come into effect. The latter measure is the first step towards the government’s 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.
Sale of cigarettes to be banned at all shops except tobacconists
While an exact timeline for this plan remains unclear, De Telegraaf reports that from 2030 petrol stations and convenience stores will be banned from selling cigarettes and rolling tobacco and that, from 2032, the only stores licenced to sell tobacco products will be tobacconists.
Outside of The Hague, some businesses have already taken it upon themselves to reduce cigarette stock and sales. Last year, Lidl announced it had stopped selling tobacco products in the Netherlands, and earlier this month Albert Heijn launched a trial for its first cigarette-free supermarket.
Cost of cigarettes in 2022 the same as in 2012, Maastricht study reveals
In addition to this, the state secretary of public health, welfare and sport, Maarten van Ooijen, said he hopes to ban smoking in playgrounds and sports parks from 2025. The government also intends to increase cigarette prices in April 2023 and in 2024, with a pack expected to become an average of 1,20 euros more expensive as a result of higher taxes.
In spite of plans to further increase cigarette prices - potentially up to as much as 47 euros a pack by 2040 - a recent study conducted by Maastricht University found that while the price of a pack of cigarettes has increased over the last decade, the affordability of tobacco products has remained unchanged as a result of rising salaries.
“The fact that the affordability of tobacco has remained virtually the same over a 10-year period makes it clear that the excise duty increases in the Netherlands have been insufficient,” the researchers in Maastricht wrote.