The legal age for buying cigarettes in the Netherlands is ‘very likely’ to be increased to 18, the Telegraaf reports on Wednesday.
The paper says junior health minister Martin van Rijn is currently working on policies to tighten up official policy on tobacco and this is one of the options. Currently, 16-year-olds can buy cigarettes and tobacco products.
According to RTL news, draft legislation could be presented to the cabinet by the end of this year.
Earlier this month, several large tobacco organisations called on the government to increase the age limit to 18, in line with plans for the alcoholic drinks industry.
Bars and cafes
The number of smokers in the Netherlands will have risen to 26.2% of the adult population by the end of this year because of government policy, anti-smoking group Stivoro said in early November.
Efforts by anti-smoking campaigners to reinstate a smoking ban in small cafes and bars failed earlier this year when judges in The Hague ruled the law does allow exceptions.
Health minister Edith Schippers relaxed the ban in 2010 so that bars smaller than 70m2 with no staff did not have to comply.
However, the ban is widely flouted in other establishments. Anti-smoking campaigners estimate smoking continues in around half the country’s clubs and bars.
Schippers has been widely criticised by health campaigners for being too lax about combating smoking and not employing enough inspectors.
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