The tobacco lobby influenced ministers and won a possible delay in raising the price of cigarettes: FTM
According to a new report by reporters from The Investigative Desk and Follow The Money, pro-tobacco lobby groups have succeeded in watering down tough measures to curb smoking in a nationwide deal aimed at boosting public health.
The agreement dates from 2018 and aims to reduce the number of smokers in the Netherlands to 5% by 2040.
However, research – based on interviews, information obtained under freedom of information laws and draft reports – shows that the tobacco lobby may have influenced the deal in several ways.
In the original plan, the price of a pack of cigarettes was to increase to € 10 by 2023. However, thanks to the intervention of the tobacco lobby, the automatic price increase was replaced by a commitment to “assess The impact of the current price of € 8, the report says.
The report also says specialty stores, which derive at least 75% of their income from tobacco products, have been exempted from the tobacco display ban that was introduced earlier this year.
This, the researchers say, despite the fact that the Netherlands has signed a pledge with the World Health Organization to ensure that public health and not “other considerations” take the lead in tobacco control policy.
The WHO deal means that young health minister Paul Blokhuis should have excluded the tobacco industry, retailers and employers’ organizations from discussions about the government’s strategy, the researchers say.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the Volkskrant reports that Blokhuis issued a statement saying electronic cigarettes and cigars will also need to be sold in plain packaging from October 1, in line with cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco.
Researchers say in their tobacco lobby report that this has been postponed to 2023, but it now appears not to be the case.
Research conducted by the Trimbos Addiction Clinic earlier this year found that 27% of 12 to 16-year-olds have used an e-cigarette, as have 44% of vocational and HBO students.
Trimbos also said there is growing evidence that they are becoming a stepping stone to tobacco. In particular, the flavors are appealing to young people, as is the low cost
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