MPs want to ban cigarette sales at supermarkets, gas stations

Cigarette vending machine
Cigarette vending machinePhoto: Rama / Wikimedia Commons

A majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament wants gas stations and supermarkets to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by next year. According to the CDA and ChristenUnie motion, tobacco products should only be available in specialist shops, AD reports. 

The parties want the government to make agreements with supermarkets and gas stations on this matter. If these stores do not stick to the agreements, the government should force them with a legal obligation. This plan is supported by the CDA, ChristenUnie, D66, SP, GroenLinks, PvdA, 50Plus, PvdD, and SGP.

The sector is currently implementing a ban on the visible display of tobacco products. From July 1st, supermarkets' tobacco products may no longer be visible to customers. For smaller outlets, that deadline is January 1st next year.

But according to the two Christian parties in the coalition, this ban on visible display is not going fast enough or far enough. They want tobacco to only be sold by tobacconists and similar specialist shops. "When I look around me in the city, more and more supermarkets seem to be opening and therefore more points of sale," CDA MP Anne Kuik said to the newspaper. "While we agreed on a decrease in the prevention agreement."

"Every year there are 19 thousand deaths as a result of a tobacco addiction," ChristenUnie MP Carla Dik-Faber said to AD. "The Dutch are now being offered tobacco in thousands of places. That is inexplicable if we want to move towards a smoke-free generation." 

While the PvdA and SP support the plan, the left-wing parties want to go even further. But "it's great that most of the coalition parties now also see the light," PvdA MP Lilianne Ploumen said. Of the four coalition parties, only the VVD did not pledge support. The SP wants to introduce a licensing system for the sale of tobacco.