Utrecht council has backed rules banning people from setting up new, specialist tobacconists within the city boundaries for at least the coming year.
The measure comes a year ahead of national legislation which will stop supermarkets selling tobacco products. The council said it expects stores to try and get around the rules by building shops within shops where cigarettes can still be sold.
Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam city councils have now written to the government urging it to draw up new rules for tobacconists, saying that the legislation as it now stands does not give councils legal tools to limit the number of specialist cigarette stores.
“This is extremely worrying from a health perspective,” Utrecht’s health chief Eelco Eerenberg said.
According to RTL Nieuws, junior health minister Martijn van Ooijen has written to supermarkets urging them not to set up separate shops to sell tobacco products once the ban has come into force.
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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