What about the law and tobacco?

The Netherlands has had the Tobacco and Smoking Products Act since 1988. Provisions in this law must ensure that the damage caused by smoking is limited. The tax duties on tobacco are determined by the Tax Act.

Important provisions of this law are:

  • As of January 1, 2014, tobacco products may not be sold to young people under the age of 18. Tobacco advertising and sponsorship are prohibited. Advertising is only allowed in tobacconists.
  • Tobacco items may not be provided free of charge.
  • A pack of cigarettes must contain at least 19 cigarettes. Sale of single cigarettes is prohibited.
  • Cigarette packs should bear the warning: “Smoking kills. Smoking seriously harms you and others around you.”
  • The packaging must state how much tar and nicotine a cigarette may contain and how much carbon monoxide may be produced. A cigarette may contain a maximum of: 1 mg nicotine and 10 mg tar.
  • No more than 10 mg of carbon monoxide may be produced during combustion.
  • Smoking and sale of tobacco products are prohibited in government buildings and institutions that are subsidized by the government.
  • Employers must ensure that employees have a smoke-free workplace.
  • As of June 2008, the catering industry is also smoke-free.
  • All passenger transport must be smoke-free.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) checks whether organizations comply with the smoking bans.

As of 1 July 2008, no more tobacco is allowed in any public space or workplace. The catering, sports and art/culture sector has also been smoke-free since 1 July 2008. An exception was made for cafes smaller than 70 m2 and without staff, but this was abolished on 1 January 2015. The smoking ban even applies to the tolerated coffeeshops; a smoking place in its own right, you might think. A joint with tobacco may no longer be smoked indoors, not even in a closed smoking area. Pure joints (with only weed or hash, without tobacco) can be smoked indoors.

The Tobacco and Smoking Products Act applies to all tobacco products.