A major anti-tobacco measure will soon be implemented in Belgium. Health Minister Maggie de Block recently announced the introduction of a new, neutral cigarette pack. The new regulations are intended to target different tobacco products, although a specific date has not yet been announced.
Neutral cigarette packets have started to make inroads throughout Europe, and it is now Belgium’s turn to join neighboring countries. After intense negotiations, the Health Minister finally reached an agreement with the government.
The new law will be applied to cigarette packets as well as packets of rolling tobacco and shisha tobacco. The royal decree still has to be sent to the European Commission, where it will be subject to the Council of State before definitive validation.
A necessary anti-tobacco measure
For the Health Minister, this is a major development in the fight against tobacco addiction. De Block has cited the need to “make cigarette packaging less attractive.” A standard packet without any distinctive signs will now become the norm.
As in many other countries, Belgium is hoping to implement more effective anti-smoking measures. Maggie de Block cited “examples from abroad” as a major reason for the new regulations. Neutral packets have been adopted in France, the United Kingdom, and Norway, as well as in New Zealand and Australia.
In the long run, these new measures should help reduce the number of smokers in Belgium. It remains to be seen whether or not the government will decide on additional measures, which could include defending proven and safe alternatives to tobacco like the electronic cigarette.