Lidl Nederland first supermarket to stop selling cigarettes

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Lidl Nederland will be the first supermarket to stop selling cigarettes. The chain announced that it will phase out sales until no more cigarettes are sold in Lidl Nederland stores by 2022 at the latest, ANP reports.

According to the supermarket chain, the sales figures for cigarettes declined over the past years and cigarette sales are no longer profitable. But Lidl also took measures to discourage the sale of smoking products, like placing all cigarettes out of sight in stores last year.

"The trend in the Netherlands is clearly towards smoke-free. We also notice this in the cash register. We do not want to counter this development. That is why it is a logical step for us to phase out the sale of cigarettes in phases", a spokespersons for Lidl Nederland said to ANP.

Dutch addiction organization Verslavingskunde Nederland is pleased with this decision. "This is a big step, which will have a major impact nationally and internationally", a spokesperson said to the news wire. "Lidl is in 30 countries and Lidl Nederland is the first international to stop the sale of cigarettes."

Earlier this year Trekpleister and Kruidvat also announced that they will be phasing out the sale of cigarettes. CEO Gerard van Breen said that this decision was made because the retail chains want to present themselves as health shops. "Then cigarettes no longer fit into the concept."

Supermarket chains Jumbo and Albert Heijn have no intention to stop selling tobacco products. "We find it important that our customers can go to Jumbo for all their shopping", a Jumbo spokesperson said to NU.nl. "So also for tobacco products." A spokesperson for Albert Heijn gave the newspaper a similar statement. "Our customers can go to Albert Heijn for all their groceries. For about a quarter of our customers, tobacco is part of that."

Last year former Public Health state secretary Martin van Rijn decided that supermarkets will no longer be allowed to display tobacco from 2020. An exception is made for specialty stores. Petrol stations, kiosks and other outlets are given two years longer to remove cigarettes from their display. 

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