Netherlands to Ban Supermarket Cigarette Sales

The law takes effect in 2024 for grocery stores, accounting for 55% of all tobacco sales.

December 03, 2020

AMSTERDAM—Supermarkets in The Netherlands won't be able to sell cigarettes and other tobacco products beginning in 2024 under a new government ban aimed at curbing smoking, Reuters reports. The nation already has a ban on cigarette vending machines that takes effect in 2022.

About 55% of all tobacco sales in the Netherlands occur at supermarkets, which must hide tobacco products from customer view in closed cabinets. The new restrictions will slash 11,000 of the current 16,000 tobacco vending points in the country. The Netherlands permits online sales of tobacco and e-cigarettes.

Starting January 1, 2021, petrol stations, convenience stores, bars and other outlets will be prohibited from displaying tobacco products, while specialist tobacco shops are in certain cases will be exempt from the display ban if registered with the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, according to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

Smoking has been banned in Dutch bars and restaurants since 2008. Earlier this year, train station smoking areas were removed, and office buildings need to follow suit by 2022, Reuters said.

"This will prevent a lot of unnecessary deaths and medical suffering," Paul Blokhuis, deputy health minister, said.

Under a measure that took effect October 1, cigarettes and rolling tobacco must be sold in plain, dark green-brown packages with large, explicit health warnings on the outside.

Make sure to go back and watch the education sessions “Strategies of Category Management Superstars,” part of the NACS Crack the Code Experience, for insight into managing your tobacco category. You can still register for your own NACS Crack the Code Experience, giving you access to this session and many more. The NACS Crack the Code Experience runs through December 4, and features 24/7 access to forward-looking ideas and insights, plus innovative new-to-channel products and strategic connections.