Dutch MPs set deadline for display ban on cigarettes in supermarkets

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No image availableNL Times

A majority in Dutch parliament passed a motion calling for a ban on displaying cigarettes and tobacos in every supermarket. The motion by PvdA parliamentarian Marith Volp also includes a deadline of enforcing this measure by December 1st, AD reports. 

According to the motion, reducing the tobacco addiction is so important that tobacco products should be hidden from view, especially in places children and young people frequent. 

State Secretary Martin van Rijn of Public Health also supports a display ban as an "additional means" in preventing young people from starting to smoke. He is already discussing self-regulation of such a ban with industry association. But now that parliament set a deadline, it is expected that Van Rijn will enforce this with binding lesgislation, as there is still a lot of disagreement on the necessity and usefulness of such a measure in the industry.

A number of large Dutch supermarkets are already taking measures into their own hads. Jumbo is converting its nearly 600 stores to hide cigarette packages and their unpleasant images from the customers. The supermarket stated that it no longer wants to confront its customers with "a wall of terrifying picutures". 

Dirk van den Broek announced on Wednesday that the sale of cigarettes in tis 117 stores will henceforth be done from drawers, out of sight of the customers. "We do not want to encourage smoking. Especially among young people", director Marcel Huizing explained, according to AD. "In addition the frightening images on tobacco products pla a role, they look sinsiter. We also foresee a obligation to put tobacco out of sight in the near future." He stressed that Dirk van den Broek is following its own course. "We believe in this. The commercial appeal of the counter continues to exist, but the packets are out of sight. The customers know that we continue to sell tobacco and are mature enough to ask for it."

Albert Heijn hasn't reached that point yet. The chain is testing different ways of covering its tobacco products.