According to Dutch news media RTL Nieuws, the Dutch government decided to postpone the implementation of the ban on e-cigarette flavors again, the ban will come into effect on January 1, 2024. Previously, the Dutch government planned to ban all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco on October 1, 2023, but now the time set is three months later than originally planned.
The Continuing Extension of the “Flavor Ban”
The Dutch “flavor ban” was announced as early as 2021, when the government planned to officially implement it on July 1, 2022, but by June 2022, a government spokesperson said that there had been some trouble enforcing the flavor ban and that additional checks were necessary to determine whether the flavoring ingredients used were actually safe.
The timing was thus delayed until January 1, 2023, and a 10-month window (with official implementation on October 1) was left to allow the tobacco industry to digest the flavored tobacco products already in place.
Excessive harm to tobacco industry interests
The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), at the request of the Ministry of Health, set up a list of ingredients for the only permitted tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, initially listing sixteen ingredients.
But the RIVM has now found that the list of sixteen ingredients for tobacco flavors disproportionately harms the interests of the tobacco industry.
A government spokesperson explained that the flavor ban has had a greater impact on tobacco manufacturers than previously anticipated, hence the decision by State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen to give tobacco manufacturers more time, while public health sources expressed concern.
A spokesperson for RIVM explained:
“Our initial calculations concluded that about a quarter of all tobacco flavors could continue to exist today, but a recalculation revealed that only about 2 to 23 percent of flavors could continue to exist for manufacturers.”
Public health advocates are concerned that the continued delay in the “flavor ban” will lead to a continued increase in e-cigarette prevalence and a host of adverse effects.
In response, Marten said he would prefer to implement a “flavor ban” now:
“Because clearly these flavors are designed to attract children and young people to e-cigarettes.”
But he stressed that this was a postponement of the plan and not a cancellation::
“According to RIVM’s supplementary analysis, banning flavors would potentially have a greater impact on manufacturers than we have so far believed. It is my responsibility to address this from the principle of good governance.”
It is understood that the Dutch government aims to achieve a smoke-free society by 2040. On the other hand, the government is making every effort to reduce smoking behavior; the price of cigarettes will rise to 10 euros during this year’s government term.