Dutch government outlaws supermarket cigarette sales from 2024

Business

From 2024, supermarkets in the Netherlands will no longer be allowed to sell cigarettes and other related products, the Dutch government confirmed on Friday. The Cabinet believes it will make it easier for smokers to quit, and harder for others to take up the habit.

Tobacco products will no longer be sold in vending machines starting in 2022, and online tobacco sales will be forbidden the year after. It should lead to a reduction of 120 thousand smokers within a decade, the Ministry of Health Welfare and Sport said. By that time, the ministry said that tobacco products will only be sold in specialized tobacco stores.

Currently, 16 thousand locations sell tobacco products. That will fall by 5,600 within two years once cigarette vending machines are banned. After 6,400 supermarkets halt tobacco sales, only six thousand retailers will sell the products.

“With this decision and the course we have set today, we will prevent a great many unnecessary deaths and medical suffering,” State Secretary Paul Blokhuis said in a statement.

Other steps taken to make smoking less attractive was to change the packaging to bland, uniform boxes, instead of letting manufacturers use their own packaging. Supermarkets are also not allowed to display cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The price of cigarettes will also increase to 10 euros in 2023.

Earlier this year, a majority in parliament supported a proposal to ban cigarette sales in supermarkets and gas station stores.