Number of smokers still falling, unlike cigarette sales

24/06/2008 15:00

Since the turn of the century the number of smokers of cigarettes and roll-ups in the Netherlands has fallen by 17 percent. Sales of cigarettes and shag tobacco are around 20 percent lower than in 2000. In the last two years the sales of cigarettes and shag tobacco have not decreased, however.

Number of smokers of cigarettes and shag tobacco (incl. confidence interval)

Number of smokers of cigarettes and shag tobacco (incl. confidence interval)

Fewer smokers

The number of smokers has decreased by nearly 100 thousand a year in the last eight years. At the end of 2007 just over one quarter of the Dutch population aged 12 years and older smoked cigarettes or roll-ups.

Cigarette and shag sales per capita

Cigarette and shag sales per capita

Fewer cigarettes and roll-ups

Sales of cigarettes and shag tobacco were substantially lower in 2007 than in 2000. This decrease coincided with a significant tightening of a number of provisions in the tobacco act, anti-smoking campaigns and increases in excise on tobacco products. In 2007, for example, cigarettes cost 70 percent more than in 2000.

Sales of cigarettes were 9 percent lower in 2007 than in 2000. Sales of shag tobacco fell by nearly one quarter in the same period. The fall in consumption of cigarettes and shag has not continued in the last few years, however.

Since 2006, sales of cigarettes have been growing slightly again. In recent years cigarettes have been cheaper in the Netherlands than in Belgium and Germany. This may have had an upward effect on sales in the border regions.

Some key figures, 2000-2007

Some key figures, 2000-2007

Smokers fatten government coffers

In spite of the fall in the number of smokers and lower sales, spending on tobacco products rose by one quarter in the period 2000-2007. This is because the prices of these products continue to rise. Last year, sales of tobacco products accounted for around 3.9 billion euro. Excise duties constitute a substantial component of the price of tobacco. In the space of eight years, excise revenues rose by one third to over 2.1 billion euro in 2007. Excise rates are set to rise again on 1 July 2008.

Hans Draper, Frans Frenken