The Netherlands will ban all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco on October 1 next year, according to an amendment the government published in the Staatscourant. From then, there will be no more banana, biscuit, or fruit loops flavored vape liquids or e-cigarettes, only a limited number of tobacco flavors. The ban also covers pre-filled e-cigarettes and disposable vapes.
The government announced in 2020 that it planned to ban flavored e-cigarettes and vapes because they see it as a stepping stone for teenagers toward actual cigarettes. Now it’s clear that stores will have until 30 September 2023 to sell their existing stocks.
Public health institute RIVM drew up a list of 16 ingredients manufacturers can use to make tobacco flavors. According to the RIVM, about a quarter of the current tobacco flavors can be made with that list of ingredients.
The government is also banning packaging that depicts anything other than tobacco. And the rules for naming will be stricter. Vape liquids and e-cigarettes may no longer be sold under terms like “bad boy fuel” or “chilling.”
Esther Croes of the Trimbos Institute is pleased with the ban. It’s a “step in the right direction,” she said to NOS. “The sweet flavors make e-cigarettes and vapes especially attractive to young people.”
According to the trade association Esigbond, the government’s flavor ban is overshooting its target. “We know that flavors play an important role for smokers in getting rid of tobacco affinity,” Emil ‘t Hart of the association said to NOS. “You are now restricting the e-cigarette to such an extent that it is almost impossible to obtain it legally. Then it doesn’t help if the goal is a smoke-free generation.”
But according to Croes of the Trimbos Institute, the idea that vaping helps smokers ditch cigarettes is largely a myth. “Research shows that only a few benefit from it.” Smokers who start vaping usually turn into dual users. “And research shows that smoking both only increases health damage.”