SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The tide may be turning against tobacco in the Netherlands, with almost three-quarters of young adults saying they support a major increase in tax on cigarettes, according to a poll by Maurice de Hond.
Support for higher taxes among the under-25s is noteworthy because almost one in three smoke, the national statistics office CBS said earlier this month.
In total, 65% of the population back higher taxes on tobacco, and there is majority support across all political parties, the De Hond poll said. The poll was carried out on behalf of anti-smoking lobby group TabakNee.nl.
The poll also showed 63% believed tobacco products should only be sold in specialist shops, not supermarkets and petrol stations, and 65% back an increase in the minimum age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.
The Dutch government has always resisted a sharp rise in tobacco taxes, even though it has proved effective in other countries. Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis is currently drawing up a new strategy to combat smoking, the AD said on Monday.
A packet of 20 branded cigarettes currently costs around €6.70 in the Netherlands, just slightly more than in Germany and Belgium. The most expensive place in Europe to buy cigarettes is Norway, where a packet of cigarettes is over €11. (DutchNews)