New figures from the anti-addiction Trimbos Institute show that the number smokers in the Netherlands remains around 20% and that fewer people are trying to stop.
In 2020, 36% of smokers said they had attempted to give up the habit, but last year only 31% had done so. ‘This is the first time we have seen such a big drop in the number of attempts to quit smoking,’ the institute’s Marc Willemsen told RTL Nieuws.
In 2018, the government set a target in 2018 of ensuring just 5% of the Dutch population smoke by 2040.
One option on the cards is a massive price hike. Cigarettes are due to go up to €10 a packet next year, but junior health minister Maarten van Ooijen is keen to follow the Australian system and put the price up so much smokers will give up the habit, the Telegraaf reported last month.
Last year, research published by Maastricht University showed that the cost of smoking only becomes an issue for smokers when prices go up by an enormous amount, with some 50% saying they would only quit at a price of €60 per pack.
‘No new measures were introduced in 2021 and to achieve the target of a smoke free generation, more is needed and existing measures need to be strengthened,’ Willemsen said.
Willemsen said he welcomed the plan to put up the price of cigarettes considerably and said more should be done to reduce the number of sales points.
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