July 2023

Earlier this week, starting on July 1st 2023, new legislation came into play in The Netherlands, banning the sales of tobacco products on the internet. The legislation bans “selling at a distance”, making it illegal for Dutch retailers to ship tobacco products to customers, even if they are regular customers and order by phone or text message.

Sasja van Horssen, owner of Cigaragua, several Van Dalen Cigar Boutique shops in The Netherlands and importer/distributor of several of the best cigars available in The Netherlands, told Cigar Inspector it had been coming for a while.

Van Horssen said “It had been coming for a while and in itself I get it: too many shops sold tobacco without an age check, so that minors could still order (mainly cigarettes). The unreasonable strictness of this one surprises me: I now understand that, for example, ordering cigars and picking them up in the store is not allowed. The provision of information at a distance is also suddenly connected, although it is unclear how this will be implemented. It will be exciting months for many entrepreneurs: will customers return to the shops or will they disappear?”

Yuri Dijkstra from La Casa del Habano in Almere responded to Cigar Inspector as well. “Shop sales have been the most important thing for us for years and will only become more important now. For the future it will only become more difficult with regard to shipping and remote payment, so the store remains important. So this new legislation doesn’t change much for us.”

Rinse van Gans, founder of Van Dalen Cigar Boutique in Groningen said the following: “The law in itself is not unreasonable but the part of not allowed of giving information at a distance is ridiculous, I think. Furthermore, I believe in a nice shop with good advice, top staff and splendid service. Customers have to get out their lazy chairs and rediscover the magic of a walk-in humidor. And no doubt they will.”

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