Dutch authorities want to bring in a range of regulations intended to limit the popularity of novel tobacco products such as nicotine pouches.
The Dutch government aims to implement various regulatory controls to try and achieve its its smoke-free targets. Among these are a substantial increase in excise duties as well as duties on vaping products for the first time (envisaged from 2024), a display ban, neutral packaging, and extending the prohibitions on advertising and smoking in public places to add vaping and other non-conventional delivery methods to the list of banned products, combined with intensive anti-tobacco campaigns that will be funded by the hike in taxes.
These rules are being implemented regardless of delivery method, with e-cigarettes, vapes, vaporisers, electric heating devices, and other alternative tobacco products falling under the same umbrella as other tobacco products to ensure children do not encounter novel tobacco products, as in accordance with the National Prevention Agreement.
In an attempt to prevent loopholes being exploited – for example, selling “aromas” that are marketed to be mixed with nicotine/tobacco/etc so as to not come under the heading of the law (and therefore out of bounds due to the presence of flavourings) – the Dutch plan to create two overarching categories into which all nicotine-related products will be separated: “cigarettes” and “smokeless tobacco products and related products”.
These targets form part of the government’s National Prevention Agreement, which states that “a smoke-free generation will be achieved by 2040”. The goal is to eliminate smoking or tobacco use by all young people and all but 5% of the adult population.
Controls to affect heated tobacco, flavours, nicotine pouches
It should be noted that the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has calculated that the use of a “heated tobacco product” leads to ten to 25 times lower exposure to carcinogenic substances than cigarettes. The RIVM has asked that “this outcome should be interpreted with caution because not all substances present in tobacco have been investigated”.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport is drawing up legislation and regulations to “prevent these products from becoming (more) popular”.
It is expected that some of these restrictions will start to be phased in over the summer, with the bans on certain flavourings to follow in early 2023.
The RIVM has also asked the government to ban at least seven of the currently permitted flavourings for e-cigarettes.
Further, it has cautioned the government about the 16 remaining flavouring agents, saying they’re thought to be harmful, but sufficient research has not yet been conducted. It is unclear what would happen if all tobacco flavours were banned.
Due to e-cigarettes now falling under the same category as other tobacco products, such as nicotine pouches, these flavouring bans will apply across the board – whether technically applicable or not.
– James De Lise TobaccoIntelligence contributing writer
Photo: Ansgar Scheffold