Supermarket chain Albert Heijn is running a trial at a store in Pijnacker in South Holland with no tobacco on sale, to monitor the effect on sales before new legislation comes in.
The supermarket sells cigarettes and tobacco at a ‘service’ desk but is trialling removing this in advance of 2024 rules, reports Nu.nl.
A spokesperson told Nu.nl that it wants to replace the desk with automated services where possible, to see what shoppers are willing to do themselves – and where they need staff.
‘The shop has recently been renovated, and cigarette sale was an important part of the service desk,’ the spokesperson reportedly said. ‘We can see what effect it has on this part of the shop when no tobacco is on sale.’
Chemist Kruidvat removed tobacco from sale in 2018, followed by Lidl Nederland, while 2020 legislation means that cigarettes can no longer be visible in supermarkets in order to discourage smoking.
The government is aiming to have a ‘smoking free generation’ by 2040, raising tax on tobacco, closing smoking areas and 12,000 sale points in supermarkets in 2024 to ‘make it easier to stop smoking and harder to start’.
For supermarkets, there could be a business saving too. Chains such as Albert Heijn have already been introducing more automation, with self-service check outs that require fewer staff.
‘There is a stand in the shop concerned, where people can signal if they want to buy lottery tickets, so that a shop assistant comes to you,’ the spokesperson reportedly added.
Some doctors are campaigning for the tobacco ban in supermarkets to start even sooner.
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