AMSTERDAM, Nov 20 (.) – The Netherlands will ban the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in supermarkets from 2024, in a campaign aimed at getting more people to quit smoking, the government announced on Friday.
Along with the ban on cigarette vending machines from 2022, the measure in supermarkets will eliminate about 11,000 of the 16,000 tobacco outlets currently in the country, according to the government.
Supermarkets currently account for 55% of all tobacco sales in the Netherlands.
“This will prevent many unnecessary deaths and medical suffering,” Deputy Health Minister Paul Blokhuis said in a statement.
About 22% of Dutch people over 18 years of age smoked regularly last year, according to the Trimbos health research institute, up from 26% in 2014.
Since 2008 smoking has been prohibited in bars and restaurants. Earlier this year, all smoking areas in train stations were removed, while office buildings are due to do the same by 2022.
Since last month cigarettes can only be sold in uniform gray packages with large and explicit health warnings, while supermarkets have already had to put tobacco products in locked cabinets, out of sight of potential customers. (Reporting by Bart Meijer. Edited in Spanish by Rodrigo Charme)