Politics & Campaigns

NNA and ETHRA Fight Dutch Ban

The New Nicotine Alliance and ETHRA have responded to the Dutch government’s threat to vaping in the Netherlands

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The New Nicotine Alliance and ETHRA have responded to the Dutch government’s threat to vaping in the Netherlands. European umbrella advocacy group ETHRA has submitted an opinion paper to the Netherlands consultation on amending the Tobacco and Related Products Order, while nicotine consumer charity The New Nicotine Alliance has issued a call to UK vapers to help our Dutch counterparts.

ETHRA is a consortium of 25 grassroots consumer associations in 17 European countries acting as the voice of 27 million EU consumers of safer nicotine products. Its submission points out it is a voluntary operation with no industry funding or conflicts of interest.

ETHRA says: “The objective of the proposed amendment, as set out in the Integrated Assessment Framework for Policy and Regulations (IAK), is to protect public health by reducing the attractiveness of electronic cigarettes to the general population, but particularly to young people. This raises serious concerns as the amendment would amount to a de facto ban on vaping products.

“The consequences of removing adult access to the most popular and effective smoking cessation tool will be negative to public health. Smoking will increase, especially amongst the middle aged and elderly - those people most at risk from the health harms associated with smoking. It would destroy the legal vaping industry in the Netherlands, and we predict that the black market would flourish.”

It highlights:

  • Amendment amounts to a de facto ban on e-liquids for vaping
  • The rationale for this policy decision is deeply flawed
  • Vaping is a successful tool for smoking cessation
  • A wide variety of flavours is essential to the success of vaping products
  • A flavour ban could trigger a wide range of behavioural responses
  • Bans on vaping stimulate increases in teenage smoking
  • No evidence that vaping products act as “a gateway”

ETHRA concludes: “The Netherlands has set ambitious goals to reduce smoking rates and as tobacco harm reduction advocates, we share these goals. However, we must stress that banning flavours for e-cigarettes is likely to have the opposite effect. Policymakers must be aware that flavoured vaping products are a direct competitor to smoking. Banning or severely restricting a rival product protects the cigarette trade and keeps people smoking.”

In calling for UK vapers to lend a helping hand, the New Nicotine Alliance says: “This proposal goes further than any flavour ban seen in other countries. The National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) and Ministry of Health have set out a list of 16 'approved' substances which can be used to make tobacco flavoured e-liquids. This effectively means a de facto ban on all e-liquids. All current e-liquids on the market, including tobacco flavours, would be prohibited and new flavours would have to be developed using only the 16 approved substances.”

The charity adds: “Although we currently have sensible regulations on flavours in the UK, a revision of the EU Tobacco Products Directive is upcoming and developments in the Netherlands could have an impact on its drafting. It is true that the UK has now left the EU but as we have emphasised before, politicians are influenced by what happens in other countries and it may put pressure on UK lawmakers to follow suit. It is also worth remembering the words of Clive Bates in a webinar we held in June 2020.”

It concludes: “The NNA will be making a submission to the consultation, and we would urge our supporters to consider adding their own. To help with the process, European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) has produced an excellent guide on how to submit a response in just a few simple steps which you can read here.”


Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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