Dutch gov't bans flavored liquid for e-cigarettes

The Dutch government is banning e-cigarettes with interesting flavors in an effort to make them less attractive to young people, State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health said in a letter to parliament on Tuesday. Tobacco flavors are exempted from the ban, so that smokers can continue to use e-cigarettes to quit, he said.

This measure is in response to the latest insights from the Trimbos Institute about e-cigarettes. The institute concluded that e-cigarettes are more harmful than expected and that Dutch public health would benefit from discouraging its use. The institute advised limiting the use of e-cigarettes to smokers who were unable to quit using other proven effective tools. Like the RIVM, Trimbos also said that the many flavors make e-cigarettes attractive to young people.

"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," Blokhuis said. "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."

The government is also legally restricting tobacco heating devices like the IQOS. This amendment of the law means that these devices will fall under the same rules as other smoking products, such as cigarettes. They will therefore be subject to a minimum age limit and will not be allowed to be displayed in stores or advertised, among other things. The government is also working on introducing excise duties on new smoking products like e-cigarettes.