Packs of cigarettes have remained affordable in recent years despite significant price increases

A pack of cigarettes has become relatively more expensive in the past twelve years. Still, that made no difference to the affordability of the cigarette: smokers continued to spend about 2.5 percent of their annual income on a hundred packs of cigarettes on an annual basis, according to new research reported by NRC and Trouw on Tuesday.

This has to do with the increased incomes of the Dutch, explains researcher Cloé Geboers of Maastricht University. As a result, the price increases of cigarettes have less effect.

Geboers wants the cabinet to do more to make cigarettes considerably more expensive. This could be done, for example, by increasing excise duties annually. Higher prices are the main motivations for quitting smoking, RIVM has already confirmed.

NRC and Trouw write that a pack of cigarettes cost an average of 3.60 euros in 2008. Twelve years later, the same package was about 6.70 euros, which is almost double. When Geboers compared this with the increase in income, it turned out that the affordability of butts fell only slightly. After all, the Dutch had more to spend on cigarettes.

Geboers hopes that from now on a pack of butts will become at least 1 euro more expensive per year. Her research will be published later today in the scientific journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

The Cabinet took up the fight against smokers with the Prevention Agreement

In 2018, the government presented the National Prevention Agreement. The aim of this plan is to combat obesity, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Over the past three years, the percentage of smokers fell by 1 percentage point to 21 percent of adults. In 2040, this should be only 5 percent.

One country that is well on its way to achieving that percentage is New Zealand. There, the percentage of smokers fell to 8 percent of adults last year, figures released last week showed. New Zealand aims to be smoke-free by 2025. The country has very high prices and additional legislation to prevent tobacco sales.

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