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ETHRA Makes Dutch Submission

European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates, the umbrella group for nicotine consumer organisations across Europe, has made a submission to the Dutch consultation looking at banning nicotine pouches

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European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA), the umbrella group for nicotine consumer organisations across Europe, has made a submission to the Dutch consultation looking at banning nicotine pouches. It argues that “safer nicotine products are key to a successful tobacco control strategy”.

European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates is the voice of 27 million1 EU consumers of safer nicotine products. ETHRA is a consortium of 25 grassroots consumer associations in 17 European countries, supported by experts in tobacco control and nicotine research.

We are mostly ex-smokers who have used safer nicotine products such as vapes, nicotine pouches, heated tobacco products, and snus, to quit smoking and to remain smoke free. ETHRA is a voluntary operation with no industry funding or conflicts of interest,” it says.

Recently, the Dutch government published an explanatory memorandum regarding the Bill amending the Tobacco and Tobacco Products Act. The Act regulates non-tobacco nicotine products and nicotine devices such as vapes.

ETHRA says: “We are concerned that the proposed ban on nicotine pouches is misguided and will cause harm, as it will remove a viable low-risk alternative to smoking from the market.

The organisation has reminded authorities in the Netherlands that Professor Michael Russell pointed out in 1976, “people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar.”

The harms from smoking are due to the toxic products of combustion (the delivery method - smoking) and not from nicotine use. The Royal College of Physicians expanded upon this in its 2016 report, Nicotine without Smoke:2 ‘it is widely accepted that any long-term hazards of nicotine are likely to be of minimal consequence in relation to those associated with continued tobacco use’.

The European Commission has already signalled that it would like an EU wide ban on nicotine pouches. If individual member states, such as the Netherlands, ban pouches, an EU wide ban becomes far more likely.”

Vapers may wonder why this is relevant to them - and ecig users in the United Kingdom more so.

Currently, an increasing number of UK airports are banning smoking and vaping once flyers have passed through security clearance. Nicotine pouches provide an easy solution for anyone inconvenienced while taking a flight.

Following Brexit, many are of the opinion that EU legislation no longer applies and so bans in Europe will not translate to a prohibition here. Experts are of the belief that trade negotiations between the UK and Europe will mean that home legislation will have to be in close alignment with Europe on many areas – including vaping and nicotine pouches.

ETHRA is urging British vapers to take part in the consultation process to help influence the outcome in the Netherlands.

It says: “This is a simple consultation to respond to, and it is important that you do.”


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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