“Tobacco lobby, through VVD, did influence tobacco sales regulation

The tobacco lobby has nevertheless managed to influence the agreements in the National Prevention Agreement. The negotiations were explicitly designed in such a way that the interests of the tobacco industry and the tobacco sellers would have no influence on them.

It was intended that public health would be leading, but this did not succeed, conclude journalists of platform The Investigative Desk, in a story published by Follow The Money.

In the confidential first draft agreement, the excise duty would be gradually increased to at least a tenth by 2023. Instead, a package has become one euro more expensive this year and now costs 8 euros. Before the price can be raised further, the effects of this price increase will first be evaluated. The date for a final excise duty increase has therefore become uncertain.

Different interests

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to which the Netherlands is a signatory, makes it possible for tobacco control measures not to be subject to an ‘ordinary’ balancing of interests, but to be guided by public health considerations

VVD MP Hayke Veldman has spoken with several groups, he said in the CCeit Radio 1 News. According to him it is his job as a Member of Parliament to weigh up different interests. As an example he mentions the entrepreneurs in tobacco shops near the border. When the Netherlands raises prices, those businesses have to compete with neighbouring countries where cigarettes remain cheaper, says Veldman. The VVD also doesn’t want there to be an illegal trade in tobacco, as has happened in Australia.

Frustration and doubt