Date: June 2024
Author: Inspector X

Last week, the Dutch government announced that an upcoming proposal to introduce plain packaging for e-cigarettes will also include a similar requirement for all cigars.

If implemented, the rules will align with existing plain packaging regulations in countries like Australia and Ireland. The distinctive packaging used for cigars—both bands and boxes—would be replaced with single-color packaging that makes it impossible for consumers to identify the brand outside of the printed text.
According to the proposal from the State Secretary for Health, Welfare, and Sport, these changes are set to take effect on January 1, 2025. However, the European Cigar Manufacturers Association (ECMA) suggests there could be a transition period delaying the implementation for cigars. The proposal still requires approval from the Dutch parliament.

This move is not unexpected. In 2019, the Netherlands banned foil packaging for tobacco products, and in 2022, government leaders began discussing plain packaging for cigars and e-cigarettes.

As niche and occasionally consumed products, cigars play no part in the smoking initiation of young Dutch people, with fewer and fewer adult connoisseurs consuming them,” said the ECMA in a press release. “While excluded from plain packaging regulations, no increase in consumption has been observed in the Netherlands or other countries, and cigars continue their declining trend. For these reasons, ECMA will vigorously argue that introducing plain packaging for cigars alongside e-cigarettes is inappropriate and unjustified.

The sad part is, that this is the final act of a coalition that lost the last Dutch election and will be replaced with a new coalition soon. If the negotiations between the new coalition would have been faster, this decision about plain packaging would not have been made. A clear overreach of outvoted politicians.

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