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The Netherlands presents plan to reduce tobacco retail outlets

Guest Blog Author: Daniëlle Arnold, Policy Advisor
Health Funds for a Smokefree Netherlands (previously the Dutch Alliance for a Smokefree Society)


On Friday, November 20, 2020, the Dutch government announced a plan to significantly reduce the number of tobacco retail outlets in the country. This policy plan builds upon our National Prevention Agreement, which was concluded in 2018 and contains a package of measures to realise a Smokefree Generation by 2040 (i.e. no kids smoke, smoking adults < 5%). The plan to reduce the number of tobacco retail outlets is as follows:

1.) 2023: ban on online sale of tobacco and related products

2.) 2024: ban on sale of tobacco and related products in supermarkets

3.) From 2030 onwards: phasing out sale of tobacco and related products in gas stations and convenience stores, so that eventually the sale is limited to tobacco shops.

Currently, the Netherlands has around 16,000 tobacco retail outlets. This number will decrease by 5,600 within two years, because a ban on cigarette vending machines will enter into force on January 1, 2022. After 6,400 supermarkets halt tobacco sales as well, about 4,000 retail outlets will remain, unless of course new retail outlets emerge in the coming years.

In 2021, further research will take place to determine whether monitoring instruments, e.g. a registration system for tobacco retail outlets, should be implemented. Such instruments could help the government and parliament to keep track of the total number of retail outlets and the shifts that will take place on the Dutch tobacco market. The researchers will also examine in greater detail how the last step of the policy plan, with regard to gas stations and convenience stores, should be carried out.

More information (in Dutch) can be found here.