Crackdown on smoking: Dutch ban decorations on cigarette packaging

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Tobacco companies will soon no longer be allowed to sell cigarette packets in the Netherlands that have decorative elements on them, State Secretary Martin van Rijn of Public Health announced on Tuesday.

Currently cigarettes sold in the Netherlands are still decorated to lure buyers. But from July next year this will no longer be allowed. This forms part of a set of measures from the Netherlands and European Union aimed at making smoking less attractive.

From July 1st next year cigarette packages containing "holograms, sparkles, shiny and glamorous colors, embossing or expressions referring to a specific theme such as a World Cup or King's Day" will be banned in the Netherlands. Packages may also not contain elements that suggest "sound-, light-, smell and taste effects, such as a characteristic odor or ink that lights up when you open the package".

Only packaging with matte and smooth finishes will be allowed. This applies to cigarettes, tobacco, hookah tobacco and cigarillos.

The government will monitor the tobacco industry to make sure it adheres to the new rules. If the rules are broke, even more stringent regulations will be implemented. For example that tobacco companies may only use standard packaging containing only their brand name.