Financial support for new tobacconists may be illegal


Food and consumer product safety organisation NVWA is going to investigate if the financial support which tobacconists are receiving from cigarette makers falls under illegal advertising.

Advertising for cigarettes, including promotion, sponsoring and marketing are banned in the Netherlands.

The investigation was prompted by an article in food industry publication Distrifood which said American cigarette maker Philip Morris is giving money to people who are opening new tobacco shops following the ban on the sale of cigarettes in supermarkets.

The ban comes into effect in July and in the run up, the number of specialist cigarette shops, often in the direct vicinity of the supermarket, has risen for the first time in over 10 years.

“A lot of adult smokers will be looking for new outlets,” a Philip Morris spokesperson told Distrifood. “We are very willing to work with those entrepreneurs who share our vision of the future,” he said.

Almost a quarter (22%) of the Dutch population smokes. According to figures from health institute RIVM, almost 20,000 people die from smoking-related illnesses each year.

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