The German supermarket chain Lidl has announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco in the Netherlands, with immediate effect. The decision not only came earlier than expected but also coincided with the start of “Stoptober.”
Lidl stops sale of tobacco earlier than expected
On Friday, German supermarket chain Lidl announced it had stopped the sale of cigarettes and tobacco in its Dutch stores. The international company had previously announced in 2018 that it would cease selling tobacco by 2022. However, Lidl has now brought the move into effect across all 440 of its supermarkets in the Netherlands, becoming the first Dutch supermarket to do so.
“After announcing this move in 2018, we started to phase out the sale of cigarettes and tobacco,” said a spokesperson for the company. “All branches that we have opened in recent years were smoke-free from the start. The phasing out in the other branches went well and this gave us the opportunity to realise our ambition to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco even earlier.”
Lidl’s commitment to stopping smoking
Lidl’s decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco coincides with the popular “Stoptober” campaign, which encourages people try to give up smoking by abstaining for the whole month. The German supermarket has also previously committed to combatting smoking by joining the “towards a smoke-free generation” movement. The initiative was set up by the Dutch Heart Foundation (Hartstichting), Longfonds and KWF Kankerbestrijding, the same companies involved in the organisation of Stoptober in the Netherlands.
National cigarette ban coming
A ban on selling cigarettes in Dutch supermarkets was announced by the Dutch government last year. The ban will come into force in 2024, but a ban on cigarette vending machines is due to come earlier in 2022 and selling tobacco online will be banned from 2023. After these new rules come into place, cigarettes will only be available at petrol stations, tobacco stores and places like newsstands.
It is estimated that smoking and second-hand smoking kills more than 20.000 people every year in the Netherlands.