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November 14, 2015

Pending the formulation of the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive), the Dutch government has attempted to put into effect a blanket ban on all vaping related products including MODs, e-liquid and e-cigarettes. This seems to appear in conflict with the relaxed position the Dutch have taken in relation to recreational drugs such as cannabis. In 2012, a civil cases overturned this proposed blanket ban on the sale and importation of electronic cigarettes, e-liquids and other vaping related products.

The motive behind this proposed blanket ban on vaping products in the Netherlands appears to be motivated by the health risks associated with e-cigarettes. This motive does not sit on par with the Dutch Institute of Public Health, which stated that there is no conclusive evidence to support this view. This motivation can be best construed as “precautionary principle” which is not supported by any evidence.

Deputy Health Minister, Martin Van Rijn, has been active in promulgating restrictive steps and attempting them to justify with facts substantially lacking in evidence. His arguments were less than convincing. He put forward the arguments relating to second-hand vape dangers, gateway effect and the dangers of flavourings found in e-liquid and other vaping products in enticing those under the age of 18 to take up vaping. He wrote that there is still no sufficient and conclusive evidence to support whether toxins found in vapour pose a danger to bystanders.

According to RTLnieuws, a ban on sale of e-cigs to those under the age of 18 will be enacted. The justification for this ban that young children are being enticed into vaping sounds ridiculous and seems to be nothing short of an emulation of pharmacy-funded slogans coming over from California.

The Dutch government’s health institute, Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, has come to a conclusion that vaping can irritate and damage the airways as well as increase the risk of cancer and cause palpitations. This finding sits completely at odds with the Public Health England, which concluded that electronic cigarettes are 95% less harmful than traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes. This begs the question of how the Dutch can come to such a bold conclusion without any substantial and convincing evidence behind them.

It may come as a disappointment to many vapers that Netherlands, a country with a very relaxed and as some may say, enlightened approach is formulating its laws whilst shrouded in darkness.

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