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.
Health minister rejects tougher tobacco rules