Dutch Urged to Ditch Planned Flavor Ban

    Flavored nicotine products
    Photo: Laboko - Dreamstime.com

    A recently proposed ban on vaping flavors in the Netherlands will endanger public health, according to the Independent European Vape Alliance (IEVA).

    Around 65 percent of adult vapers in Europe use fruit or sweet liquids. According to the IEVA, the variety of flavors is one of the most important reasons for smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and for vapers not to go back to smoking.

    Ignoring this fact, the Dutch State Secretary Paul Blokhuis announced a ban on all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco flavors in the Netherlands, to discourage youth smoking.

    “This measure risks very negative consequences for public health and tobacco harm reduction,” the IEVA wrote in a statement. “With only tobacco flavors left, vapers’ threshold to relapse on tobacco smoking dangerously lowers.”

    A public consultation on the plan will run until Jan.19, 2021. The vast majority of the comments so far come from vapers and scientists who reject the government’s plan.

    According to the IEVA, the Dutch plan ignores important facts:

    • The number of young people in the Netherlands who have ever tried e-cigarettes has decreased by a quarter in the past five years.
    • Only 0.2 percent of 14-16 olds in the Netherlands vaped regularly in 2019.
    • 8 percent of all Dutch users of e-cigarettes come from smoking.

    “Removing flavours will not affect the rates of youth cigarette use,” said Riccardo Polosa, professor of internal medicine and specialist of respiratory diseases and clinical immunology at the University of Catania. “But, it will certainly reduce the number of options available for those adults who seek to quit smoking for good and find flavoured e-cigs effective.”

    The IEVA also expressed concern about the impact of the Dutch flavor ban on the debate at the Conference of the Parties to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which is scheduled to take place in November in The Hague.

    “Implementing the ban on flavorings could have negative effects on the conference,” cautioned IEVA Chairman Dustin Dahlmann. “Rather, COP9 should pay attention to the topic of harm reduction through e-cigarettes, so that the number of smokers worldwide could be significantly reduced”

    “Flavour is not a gateway to youth uptake of smoking. No evidence substantiates the association between vaping flavours and subsequent smoking initiation. We call on the Dutch government to drop this plan. There are no winners in a flavor ban, only losers.”