Smoke and mirrors: Belgium hides tobacco products from view

Smoke and mirrors: Belgium hides tobacco products from view.

Smoke and mirrors: Belgium hides tobacco products from view. Image: africa_pink / Shutterstock.com.

Belgium’s Federal Public Health Service (FPS) has announced a new regulation set to take effect on April 1, 2025.

The regulation will prohibit shops from openly displaying tobacco products for sale.

Originally scheduled for January 1, 2025, the implementation has been delayed by three months.

Less Visible

The aim is to reduce smoking rates by making tobacco products less visible.

Shops will be required to conceal both brand logos and the actual products, including cigarettes, cigars, electronic cigarettes, filters, and rolling papers.

Earlier this year, the Belgian government raised cigarette prices through taxation and committed to expanding smoke-free public spaces.

Wholesalers Excluded

The ban applies to all retailers but excludes wholesalers.

Non-compliance carries penalties, including up to one year of imprisonment and fines from €2,000 to €800,000.

VapeBel, representing vape retailers and distributors, expressed disappointment, arguing that specialised stores are crucial for age verification and educating adult smokers about vaping.

They and Belgium’s Superior Health Council have advocated for exceptions for these stores.

Despite concerns about how customers will identify available tobacco products, authorities suggest retailers maintain price lists detailing product names and brands without logos.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, UK, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 20 years.

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