04 August 2023, by Victoria Séveno

A new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has praised the Dutch government for the progress made and policies implemented in order to control the availability of tobacco products and reduce the number of smokers in the Netherlands

Dutch government praised for initiatives to reduce demand for tobacco

Published annually since 2008, the WHO’s report on the global tobacco epidemic tracks the progress made by countries across the world in tobacco control, with 2023 marking 15 years of the MPOWER technical package, which was introduced to help countries implement measures designed to reduce the demand for tobacco.

This year sees the WHO praise the Netherlands for its adoption of “the six cost-effective and high-impact policy measures” which make up MPOWER. Together with Turkey, Brazil and Mauritius, the Netherlands is one of just four countries to have implemented all the policies recommended by the WHO. 

“I am delighted to see the Netherlands as a champion in tobacco control,” says Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “I congratulate them on their leadership in adopting and implementing the robust control policies we know are effective, and hope this can inspire other countries to take action and reap the health and economic benefits of these policies.”

Number of smokers in the Netherlands falls to 20 percent

Not only has the Dutch government implemented these measures, but it has done so “at the highest level of achievement” – and with results. According to figures from the WHO, the number of smokers in the Netherlands fell from 25,7 percent of the population in 2014 to 20,6 percent in 2021. 

This is a significant milestone on the country’s road to a smoke-free generation, with the government hopes to establish by 2040 through its National Prevention Agreement. Over the past several years, a number of steps have been taken in order to limit the accessibility of smoking and tobacco products., including the introduction of neutral brown packaging.

And further regulations are set to be introduced in the near future; from 2024, the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products will be banned in Dutch supermarkets, and from 2032 sales will be restricted to specialist tobacco stores

Thumb: Andrew Balcombe via Shutterstock.com.

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