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Dutch cabinet backs EU plan for photos on cigarette packets

Friday 25 January 2013

The Netherlands backs European plans to include shocking photos on cigarette packets in an effort to discourage smokers, deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher told reporters after Friday's cabinet meeting.

In addition, the cabinet backs plans to outlaw the addition of scents and flavourings such as menthol to tobacco products, Asscher is quoted as saying by RTL news.

The broadcaster says the decision is notable because health minister Edith Schippers said in November she did not back tougher rules. That position contradicted formal advice from the public health institute RIVM and is out of line with other EU countries, the broadcaster pointed out.


The new European rules will require member states to better inform smokers about the risks. Photographs, featuring for example blackened lungs, would make the dangers attached to smoking much more obvious, supporters of the idea say.

The proposal still has to be passed by the European parliament and approved by all 27 member states and it is likely to take several years before the change is implemented.

The Netherlands has recently agreed to raise the legal age for buying tobacco products from 16 to 18.

However, anti-smoking lobby group Stivoro said in November, the number of smokers in the Netherlands will have risen to 26.2% of the adult population by the end of the year.

The organisation blamed the increase on the relaxation of the smoking ban in small cafes and the removal of help with stopping smoking from the basic health insurance package. The minister has also halved government funding for Stivoro from next year.

Earlier stories
Health minister rejects tougher tobacco rules

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

It will make absolutely no difference at all. As an ex-smoker (I gave up 5 years ago) NOTHING would have made any difference to me, until I was good and ready to do it myself.

By woods | 25 January 2013 5:05 PM

Add gruesome photos and you attract the youth - nothing better than a 'mine's more gruesome than your's' game. This is how you get motivated to start smoking. When you watch a dear friend die as a result of smoking, or have to choose between feeding your child or another packet of cigarettes, then you get motivated to stop smoking. The truth is that tobacco is being sold at places you visit everyday, is very visible and creates tax revenue. Photos don't address the problem.

By jaycee | 25 January 2013 6:21 PM

Forget about the photos of burnt out lungs..that's kind of a waste of time: 'just saw my 'cheap' brand of rolling tobacco go from €5,90 to €7,00, a whopping €1,10 more!! 30,40,50c increase in tax I can live with, but this is pure theft!

'Funny, was thinking of quitting for health reasons, even though I have no smokers cough, nothin'.

Obviously the guv goons need extra cash for their military foreign ops, no thanks!

I will cut down to 3 pd, joints that is, not cigarettes!:P 8)

By The visitor | 25 January 2013 6:25 PM

theyve had this in canada for some 15 years or so. i dont know a single person who quit as a result. smokers already know its bad for them, its an addiction. So i couldnt care less if they do it. As long as it doenst cost me money. why not put pictures of diseased livers on every bottle of alchohol while they are at it?. how about pictures of heart disease from autopsy's on pizza boxes?

By robert | 25 January 2013 7:10 PM

It's a illusion having gore pictures on cigarette packets will stop people smoking you need to be discrete otherwise people will buy cigarette containers or covers for their packets and the message you hope to get across doesn't reach them because they throw the packet away as soon as they bought it.I think price increases help best to limit smoking you can have other financial incentives like health insurance cost going down if you don't smoke.

By Roland | 25 January 2013 8:15 PM

We have had horrible pictures on cigarette packets for years. Now all packaging is in brown paper packets.
It has brought down the number of people smoking in Australia.

By Herma | 26 January 2013 12:50 AM

what on earth has taken the EU so long to get on the bandwagon with this idea? It's been on Canadian cigarette packages for as long as I can remember (at least 10 years). A progressive step to raise the age. Now all we need is enforcement.

By Michael | 26 January 2013 4:07 AM

This is a stupid idea. Most smokers realize that cigarettes are killers. It's not as if we think that cigarettes are good for you. I've even seen that "body works" exhibit with the real bodies displayed to show the difference between healthy lungs and smoker's lungs. I lit a cigarette as I left the building. I know that I'm weak, but I haven't been able to quit. A cup of coffee or a glass of whiskey just isn't the same without one. If spelling out "smoking kills" in big letters that take up half of the pack wasn't a deterrent, why do they think a picture will be?

By smokey | 26 January 2013 4:20 AM

Fortunately I don't smoke so I'll never notice this, but I still say: terrible, terrible idea.

People shouldn't have to be disgusted whenever they want to do something they like (smoking, in this case). For an example more people could relate to, just imagine if they did the same to bags of chips: having pictures of severly overweight people posing naked.

By Someone | 26 January 2013 6:08 AM

Whats wrong with you people. We have all cigarettes hidden from view in the shops and we are moving like australia to clear packaging.
We were in the netherlands in march last year and your buggers still think its ok to smoke in cafe' and blow that shit in our face.

By kees | 26 January 2013 8:03 AM

this is good news. The worse the picture the better!

By the_expat | 26 January 2013 10:39 AM

Bacon can lead to serious heart conditions so why don't we see pictures of heart attacks on pork?

I'm sure if we all stop smoking the world will plunge into an even deeper and nastier financial crisis but okay, whatever, I don't expect anyone to thank me for smoking..

By BG | 26 January 2013 11:09 AM

Non-smoker here. I think EU and Dutch authorities are wasting their time with this nonsense. The smokers will start putting the cigarettes in their own boxes.
It makes more sense to me if the health insurance costs depend on if the insured are regular smokers (or abuse other substances like alcohol, drugs), for which some lab tests have to be developed. Then everybody can decide how much do they want to pay for this sort of pleasure.

By George | 26 January 2013 1:19 PM

Great idea! Let's put ugly pictures on all items bad for your health: alcohol, fatty foods, such as chips and hot dogs... Where will it end?

By Bernadette | 26 January 2013 2:46 PM

Dutch cabinet backs EU plan for photos on cigarette packets. Such could be an infringement of the Confidentiality of Medical Information. What about coffee shops and somewhat neglected the ventilation of such. For example in Zandvoort in the summer the whole locality shell from the vitiation of the coffee shops. As ye smoke, so shall ye reek, so reek es?

By Terence Hale | 27 January 2013 8:49 AM

So glad that they at the least will make it so only adults can legally smoke. I never understood why a 16 year old could smoke legally.
I wonder what motivates the Health minister to reject tougher tobacco rules? It makes for not any logic at all, all I can think of is the Health Minister benefits in some way with helping the tobacco companies. Recent news of bribes rings maybe true here?

By Angela | 27 January 2013 10:13 AM

Nasty pictures of cancerous lungs or tumored livers won't work because most people don't know what a lung or a liver should look like not to mention their own.

By Monika Earner | 27 January 2013 5:07 PM

Until the Netherlands makes good on their no-smoking policy in, bans smoking in all buildings (most offices have smoking rooms!), and smoking becomes socially unacceptable, things will not change regardless of gruesome pictures on cigarette packages. I just saw a grandma puffing away on a cig while holding her infant grandchild.

By M | 28 January 2013 11:39 AM

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