Mr Van Rijn highlighted the positive trend that the Dutch are smoking less and less. This holds true for young people as well. Yet, youngsters still smoke too much, says Van Rijn. His ambition is a society in which young people no longer start smoking, given that young people are more prone to the addictive effects of nicotine than older people are.
In the past, the government introduced a number of measures. In January 2014, the minimum age for buying tobacco was increased to 18. Moreover, a ban on smoking in the catering industry is in place now and a media campaign entitled NIX 18 has been launched, encouraging youngsters not to take up drinking or smoking before the age of 18. In order to further reduce the number of smoking youngsters, Mr Van Rijn wants all secondary schools to become 100% smoke free. The current figure is 50%. Moreover, he wants to monitor in particular the smoking behaviour of the 16 to 18 year olds entering senior secondary vocational education or a university of applied sciences.
Mr Van Rijn expects that the European legislation can be incorporated into the Tobacco Act in May 2016. From then on, it will be possible to prohibit the sale of small packets of cigarettes, containing less then twenty cigarettes. It will also become compulsory to cover at least 65% of the cigarette packaging with a warning text and gruesome pictures. This warning should also contain a reference to more information about how to quit smoking.