Tobacco products will become 'invisible' in Belgium in 2025, Source: Depositphotos

Next year, Belgian shops will not display tobacco products anymore

Next year, Belgian shops will not display tobacco products anymore

The logic of the authorities follows the principle “far from the eyes, far from the heart” when it comes to reducing smoking rates nationally

Belgium's Federal Public Health Service (FPS) announced that starting on 1 April 2025 all shops in the country will not be allowed to openly display the tobacco products they are selling. This means not only hiding brand logos but also the actual products as well. The aim of the restriction is to curb smoking rates in the country by making the availability of smoking products less visible.

The measure was initially supposed to enter into force on 1 January but has been delayed by three months. The ban on displays will apply to the whole range of tobacco and smoking-related products. These include cigarettes, cigars, electronic cigarettes, filters and cigarette papers, among others.

In addition, already this year, the Belgian government has increased the price of cigarettes through taxation, plus it promised to increase the number of public places where smoking will be banned.

Indication for retailers

The ban applies to all retailers in Belgium, but not to wholesalers. Failing to comply with the restriction can mean a risk of imprisonment for one year and a fine between 2,000 and 800,000 euros!

VapeBel, the federation of vape retailers and distributors in Belgium, says it is disappointed, according to Belga news agency. The federation says that specialist stores play a role in effective age verification and in informing adult smokers about vape products as smoking cessation aids.

VapeBel is calling for an exception for specialist stores - something that is also recommended by Belgium’s Superior Health Council.

This, however, doesn’t seem to be the approach of the federal government which wants to make tobacco products virtually invisible to the public.

Regarding the question of how customers would then know what tobacco products the shop offers, the authorities have indicated that retailers should compile price lists of the products including the names and brands. However, these price lists cannot include any brand logos.



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