Netherlands set to ban flavoured e-liquid

Netherlands Flavour Ban header

The Netherlands is the latest country to come out with plans to impose a ban on flavoured vape juice, other than Tobacco flavours. This is due to come into effect on January 1st, 2023, but the plot thickened a bit more on this ban with the Netherlands Government imposing even more restrictions on the substances what can be used in vape juice, meaning all juices currently on sale in the country would be removed and only juices made using the approved substances list would be permitted for sale. I’m going to look at why the original ban was introduced, why it has now been adjusted and what it could mean for the future of Vaping within the Netherlands.

What are the laws of Vaping in the Netherlands?

Vaping regulations and laws vary from country to country, and some countries rules are a lot stricter than others. You can read my blog post about this HERE.

Being part of the European Union, Netherlands laws on vaping changed when the TPD legislations came into effect in 2017. This means that:

  • Tanks cannot be more than 2ml in size
  • Bottles of e-liquid containing nicotine cannot be more than 10ml in size
  • You must be 18 years or older to purchase vaping related products
  • All labels on bottles must provide the relevant safety information and ingredients
  • All forms of advertising tobacco related products are restricted to specialist vape shops and those only. No TV, Radio, or Billboard advertising is permitted.

The original legislation is published by the NL Government

In June 2020, the first draft of the Government of Netherlands plan to ban flavours in vape juice other than Tobacco from July 1st, 2022, was made public knowledge and caused an instant upset with the Vapers of the Netherlands.

The legislation read that all flavours other than tobacco would be banned to be sold in the country. Tobacco remained as an option for smokers who wanted to quit as the government “didn’t want to put potential quitters off the thought of Vaping” that’s thoughtful of them…

A spokesperson for Dutch consumer group Acvoda said

““Health policies need to be effective and the flavours in e-cigarette liquids have played an important role for our members to definitively renounce the cigarette,” said Acvoda chairman Sander Aspers. He added that a flavour ban would be “a complete insult” to vapers that use e-cigarettes to avoid smoking.”

The thought process behind the ban was to discourage a youth vaping epidemic happening, like it was happening at the time in the USA, and they want to become a smoke free country and at the same time, an e-cigarette free country also.

The other huge part of this legislation was they announced their plans to TAX e-liquid like that of Tobacco products, which caused even further uproar.

But there was a sudden U-Turn by the NL Government, and a six-month delay on the ban was called. But why?

Flaws in the plans uncovered

Although the plans were approved by the Cabinet, there were some flaws in the proposals that proved the Cabinet weren’t quite fully aware of what they were signing off.

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment created a list of approved flavourings and substances that could be included in vape juice to make only Tobacco flavours. However, it was proven by Dutch vape trade association Esigbond that this list was based on the list that Canada had submitted and had approved by their government, and the list included Isophorone and Pyridine, both of which are carcinogenic and are forbidden from being included in vape juices as per the TPD Legislations, introduced 3 years previously.

Esigbond alerted the government to what they had found, and the implications they could face if they were to follow this list. The government thanked Esigbond for their help in this matter, to which Esigbond said it could have been avoided in the first place if they had been consulted in the original writing of the legislation.

ban on flavours

The new legislation is introduced, and what it means for the future of vaping within the Netherlands

The Cabinet and NL Government decided to delay the flavour ban by six months, with it coming in to effect from January 1st, 2023. But unveiled earlier this month, with less than 3 months until the ban comes into effect, the Government dropped a bombshell.

The new list of approved substances signed off by the Cabinet was released and contained only sixteen approved substances which was a reduced number from the original list that was released prior to revision.

This means that all e-liquids on the Dutch market would have to be pulled and fully redesigned using only these approved substances and could signal the end of vaping in the Netherlands completely.

A veiled attempt to outlaw Vaping entirely?

It’s believed by Esigbond as well as others that this is somewhat a veiled ploy to ban vaping entirely within the country. They are adamant that vaping use is a gateway to tobacco use within young people, and children should grow up in a smoke and tobacco product free environment.

It’s somewhat of a mystery really how the banning of flavours will help the country becoming “vape free” when the flavours that people have grown accustomed to help them quit smoking will not be available to them anymore, and thus resulting in a huge potential of relapse amongst vapers.

The Netherlands have followed other countries within the EU by banning flavours, and it’s a big cause for concern that other countries will now follow the Netherlands by outlawing all flavours and eventually vaping as well.

Conclusion

I personally feel this is a definite attempt by the NL Government to move to ban vaping totally, by introducing this harsh new legislation with only the 16 approved ingredients being permitted to be used, which is going to put huge strain and pressure on manufacturers in the Netherlands.

The final consultation on the ban was on September 28th 2022, so expect a follow up article on the outcome of this consultation!

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