The tobacco industry has nevertheless been able to influence the National Prevention Agreement and the associated tobacco measures of the cabinet, research platform The Investigative Desk concludes in a publication on Follow The Money .
At the start of the negotiations on the prevention agreement in 2018, the intention was that public health would be leading. That is why the tobacco industry was explicitly banned from the negotiations. Nevertheless, the sector was able to influence the negotiations through the House of Representatives, the coalition and other parties.
As a result of this influence, previously drawn up plans for excise duty increases, neutral packaging and a display ban would have been modified or delayed.
The tobacco sector had influence, among other things, through allies VNO-NCW, MKB-Nederland and the Central Bureau for Food Trade. Through them, the tobacco industry was able to complain to State Secretary Paul Blokhuis about excise duty increases.
In the publication, coalition partner VVD is designated as the "main actor" in representing the interests of the tobacco industry during coalition talks about the prevention agreement. The party is said to have been informed by the industry and is against a further increase in excise duty out of business interests.
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Further price increase unsettled
In the first draft agreement, the price of a pack of cigarettes would increase step by step, to 10 euros in 2023. According to the first version, the excise duty increase is "the most effective measure" in the fight against smoking. In the final agreement, however, a pack of cigarettes has become 1 euro more expensive this year and the effects of this must first be measured before the price possibly rises again.
Other measures from the draft agreement have also been adjusted. For example, specialist tobacco shops and about 150 convenience stores are exempt from the display ban. E-cigarettes and cigars can also be sold for another two years with their brand colors and logos.
According to the publication, the target of less than 5 percent adult smokers and zero smokers by 2040 therefore seems unattainable.