The Dutch government discourages smoking. Therefore the Dutch Tobacco Act (Tabakswet) contains rules designed to reduce the sale of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes:
- You may only sell tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and to people aged 18 and older. This must be displayed clearly for everyone to see.
- You may not sell tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and refill containers to people aged 18 or older if you suspect they want to give or sell these products on to younger people.
- You must ask for proof of ID to establish the person's age. This is not mandatory for those who are obviously older than 18.
- Employees selling tobacco must be aged 16 years or older.
- Any form of advertising for tobacco products or electronic cigarettes is prohibited. Tobacco advertising is only permitted subject to certain terms and conditions, for example, in tobacconists or tobacco points of sale.
- You may not give away tobacco products or electronic cigarettes free of charge.
- You may not sell tobacco products via a tobacco vending machine, unless the vending machine:
- is always locked
- can only be unlocked in order to make a sales transaction for or by those who are 18 or older
- is indoors and can be seen by the owner or staff
- You are not allowed to advertise for any smoking implements, whether or not they contain tobacco, and including the e-cigarette.
- The sale of e-cigarettes without nicotine to youth under 18 is prohibited.
- The sale non-nicotine-containing refill fluids and herbal mixes without nicotine for the waterpipe to youth under 18 is prohibited.
Online tobacco sales
The online sale of tobacco and electronic cigarettes is permitted. You can publish an overview of tobacco products (with or without logos) and a price list on your website, but the information must be neutral. When delivering tobacco products you are obliged to verify the recipient's age.
You have to be registered as a retailer with the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) in order to be allowed to sell these products cross-border within the European Economic Area (EEA). Registration is also necessary in the country where you sell your products. Even with regard to cross-border sales you are obliged to verify the buyer's age.