The government is planning to impose further restrictions on the sale of tobacco, and next year will be the last cigarettes can be sold by supermarkets, if junior health minister Maarten van Ooijen has his way.
According to the Telegraaf, Van Ooijen aims to ensure that within 10 years, cigarettes are only sold in specialist shops. Other outlets, such as petrol stations, will be able to sell them up to 2030 but then that too will be phased out.
Smoking is currently banned in schools, cafes and public buildings, but Van Ooijen also plans to expand that to cover playgrounds, sports grounds and other locations frequented by children, the paper said.
The Telegraaf bases its claims on government sources.
Other measures are also being discussed to meet the government’s target of ensuring no children born in 2040 will take up smoking, the paper said.
These include a surge in the price of tobacco products and a ban on water pipes, but there is no government majority in favour of such measures.
However, Van Ooijen has commissioned research into the impact of a major price increase on the sale of tobacco, which is due to be completed within a year, the sources said.
The price of a packet of cigarettes is currently around €8.20 and that is due to rise to €10 by 2024.
Ministers are due to discuss smoking strategy next week.
The price of cigarettes has risen steadily over the years, but so have wages and that means tobacco products have only become marginally more expensive, Maastricht University researcher Cloé Geboers said earlier this week.
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.
In Australia, cigarettes now cost around €24 for 20 and in Britain they go up in price by inflation plus 2%.
Some 20% of the Dutch population smoke regularly but the government set a target in 2018 of ensuring just 5% do so by 2040.
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