• May 20, 2024

Supermarkets Dodging Ban With Tobacco Shops

 Supermarkets Dodging Ban With Tobacco Shops

Dutch supermarkets are opening specialist tobacco shops next to their food retail stores in anticipation of a tobacco sales ban set to come into force on July 1, reports Dutch News.

Beginning in July, the Netherlands will prohibit supermarkets from selling cigarettes and rolling tobacco, but tobacconist shops can be opened without a license.

TabakNee, an anti-tobacco group, is pushing for the introduction of licenses to sell tobacco.

“There was a lot of demand,” said Rolf Hoogkamer, a Jumbo franchise owner who opened a specialist store next to his shop. “It is often older people who live in the flats near here and can’t walk far. They can now easily still pick up [their cigarettes] and that is a good thing.”

“There is a 7.5 percent profit margin on each packet,” said Hoogkamer. The total tobacco product market reached €4.4 billion ($4.8 billion) in 2020, €2.4 billion of which came from supermarkets.

“Some 7 percent of our turnover comes from tobacco, so you are talking about €700 million a year,” Jumbo chief executive Ton van Veen said.

The outgoing government has raised taxes, bringing the price of a 20-pack of cigarettes to €10, banned advertising and introduced plain packaging. Tobacco sales will be restricted to specialist stores only by 2032.

The government agreed to leave the issue of tobacco shop licensing to the next administration.