In a letter to Parliament, last week State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health said that tobacco flavours are being exempted so that smokers may continue to use e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools. “All kinds of organizations are working very hard to make it harder to start smoking and easier to quit. This is also urgently needed because it remains unacceptable that 20 thousand people die in our country every year from the effects of smoking and about 75 children start smoking every day,” said Blokhuis.
This measure came in response to a recent report by the Trimbos Institute. Research conducted by the institute concluded that e-cigarettes are more harmful than expected and that public health would benefit by discouraging its use. In line with arguments by most public health and harm reduction entities, the institute advised limiting the use of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tools to smokers who are unable to quit via other means.
“The new insights confirm that the smoke-free generation that is on its way must also be an e-cigarette free generation. There is no room for e-cigarettes with all kinds of seductive, exotic flavors in this,” said State Secretary Blokius.
HTPs will be subject to the same restrictions as cigarettes
The report by Trimbos added that e-cig flavours make e-cigarettes appealing to teens. However, some recent international independent studies have cast some doubts on this, as it resulted that curiosity and appearing cool, were the main motivators for some teens to try vaping, not flavours.
Meanwhile, Dutch authorities are also legally restricting heated tobacco products (HTPs) such as iQOS. This amendment will extend the current regulations on cigarettes to cover HTPs, so that they will be subject to the same minimum age limit and will not be allowed to be displayed in stores or advertised. Additionally, a new excise tax covering all electronic devices is in the works.