Blokhuis is quoted as saying he is “very curious” in Leon van den Toorn’s insights. He said he, “wants to involve their findings in the ongoing research into the health risks of e-cigarettes. I cannot just issue a total ban, I also have to deal with European rules, for example. But I would like to do everything in our power to further reduce smoking and e-smoking.”
Van den Toorn spoke about vaping following a conference he attended where, “it turned out that we cannot recommend the e-cigarette under any circumstances. The frequently heard comment that the e-cigarette is 95 percent less harmful is not based on any scientific evidence. It seems that only a few people manage to quit smoking this way.”
Advocacy group AcVoDa has been busy trying to influence the conversations in the media and, despite being frozen out of a television debate, managed to supply another guest with solid arguments in favour of vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool. It seems the media wishes to push a strong prohibitionist agenda and AcVoDa’s voice doesn’t resonate with their agenda.
According to the national transparency register, Van den Toorn has received payments from pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline for at least 3 years. Maybe it ought to be this paid for voice that is silenced?
New group ETHRA (European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) commented: “Dutch consumer organisation and ETHRA partner ACVODA welcome Mr Blokhuis investigating this policy area but insist that all stakeholders should be consulted before the government embarks on legislative bans which could have a devastating impact on the health of Dutch smokers and ex-smokers, and consumers should be central to that.”
“There is absolutely no justification for banning all e-cigarettes in the Netherlands”, says Hans Molenaar of ACVODA, “Mr van den Toorn is basing his case on very one-sided and selective slides presented at a conference in Madrid last week from people ideologically opposed to any harm reduction alternatives, and has discounted the widely-reported health opportunities which reduced risk products can offer.”
“Mr Blokhuis rightly states that vaping products are allowed and strictly regulated by the EU Tobacco Products Directive, so a complete ban is out of the question. If he wants to investigate the matter diligently to the benefit of all citizens of the Netherlands, it is imperative that he meet with consumer representatives to hear our many success stories with e-cigarettes. Surely, he should see that proposing a ban on safer nicotine products which have helped tens of thousands (hundreds, millions?) of Dutch people to quit smoking while the most dangerous delivery system – cigarettes – are free to be sold all over the country is madness. Talking only to vested interests and excluding the public from the conversation is not the actions of a proud democratic EU Member State.”
ACVODA is happy to meet with Mr Blokhuis at any time of his choosing, we believe it is imperative he does so. It is important that a drastic policy to ban all vapour products includes input from all stakeholders, most especially consumers whose lives will be heavily impacted by this ill-advised threat. Published evidence reviews from respected European health bodies endorse the many benefits of reduced risk products, and there is a real danger to Dutch public health if the consumer voice is not respected.