5 March 2004
BRUSSELS – Most Belgians would favour a law banning shopkeepers from selling cigarettes to children under 16, a survey released on Friday found.
The study was carried out by one Belgium’s main consumer organisations the Centre de Recherche et d’Information des Organisations de Consommateurs (CRIOC).
According to the new report over 70 percent of Belgians think a clear ban on cigarette sales to the under 16s would be a good thing.
Of those in favour of a ban, 51 percent said they thought it would be a ‘very good’ idea while a further 20.6 percent said they thought it would be a ‘pretty good’ move.
At present the law in Belgium does not specifically ban the sale of tobacco products to minors.
The CRIOC study also found that cigarette sales in Belgium remained stable last year, despite a major government anti-smoking drive that began in 2003 and was stepped up earlier this year.
According to the survey, 14.287 billion cigarettes were sold in Belgium in 2003 compared with 14.314 billion in 2002.
The number of smokers has also remained relatively constant, the study found.
In 2002, 29 percent of the Belgian population smoked while in 2003 the figure had dropped very slightly to 27 percent.
But government tax receipts on tobacco products increased considerably over the same period, according to the study, reflecting recent hikes in the price of cigarettes.
In 2002 the government made EUR 1,785 million from tobacco taxes. In 2003 the figure had risen to EUR 2.164 million.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news