Dutch flavour ban on e-cigarettes postponed for six months
Carcinogenic substances on list of permitted ingredients – RIVM to investigate
The Dutch cabinet has postponed the introduction of a flavour ban in e-cigarettes by six months. In the run-up to the ban, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has drawn up a list of ingredients with which only tobacco flavours can be made. The trade association for e-cigarette shops, Esigbond, warned the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport that this list includes carcinogenic substances. The RIVM is now investigating the list of ingredients again. According to the Esigbond, the government has too little knowledge of vapour liquids, a ban would be difficult to implement and it would result in more smokers.
Documents Public Access Act (WOB): RIVM leaned on knowledge of Canadian counterpart organisation
In preparation for a ban on non-tobacco flavours in e-cigarettes, last year the RIVM compiled a list of ingredients in e-cigarette liquids that can only be used to make tobacco flavours. The trade association Esigbond was very surprised to find the substances isophorone and pyridine on that list. These substances are generally known to be carcinogenic within the e-cigarette industry, that is why those substances are not used. After the discovery, the trade association Esigbond informed the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The RIVM is now investigating the suspected substances again. The trade association also submitted a WOB request to find out exactly what went wrong. This revealed that in compiling the list of permitted ingredients, the RIVM used a lot of input from the Canadian health authority.
Dutch government has little knowledge about e-cigarette
Emil ‘t Hart, chairman of the Esigbond, said the situation is indicative of the Dutch government’s lack of knowledge about electronic cigarettes: “We have offered to help the government think about a practical policy on e-cigarettes in the past because of our extensive knowledge. This mistake could easily have been avoided if the government had talked to us.”
E-cigarette policy revised in light of new research: e-cigarette does not lead to smoking
The flavour ban was prompted by concerns that e-cigarettes with, for example, sweet flavours would drive young people to smoke regular cigarettes. However, an increasing number of studies show that there is no such incitement. In fact, these studies show that e-cigarettes are an effective smoking cessation tool. For this reason, the Esigbond believes that the cabinet should revise its plans for a flavour ban. Emil ‘t Hart says: “The number of smokers in the Netherlands is still spectacularly high and last year it even increased. Other countries such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom have much lower smoking rates and smoking is still falling there. This is because these countries choose to encourage smokers, who often have no intention of quitting, to use less harmful nicotine products such as an e-cigarette. The Netherlands is lagging behind these countries in implementing effective anti-smoking policies.”