The Independent European Vape Alliance (IEVA) is a pan-European association aimed at uniting national associations, companies, manufacturers and wholesalers in the vaping industry. It has lambasted the Netherlands government’s decision to implement a ban on eliquid flavours.
IEVA’s founding principle is to contribute to harm reduction and public health. It believes e-Cigarettes have a significant positive impact and should be recognised as a harm reduction tool because vaping is not smoking.
The organisation says around 65% of adult vapers in Europe use fruit or sweet liquids. The variety of flavours is one of the most important reasons for smokers to switch to e-cigarettes and for vapers not to go back to smoking. Without paying attention to this fact, the Dutch State Secretary Paul Blokhuis has announced to ban most of the e-cigarette flavours in the Netherlands, as they are supposedly attractive to young people.
IEVA says the move, “risks very negative consequences for Public Health and tobacco harm reduction: With only tobacco flavours left, vaper’s threshold to relapse on tobacco smoking dangerously lowers.”
The public consultation on the plan was to run to 19 January but has been extended due to overwhelming response. The vast majority of the comments so far come from vapers and scientists who reject the government's plan.
According to IEVA, the Dutch plan ignores important facts:
The number of young people in the Netherlands who have ever tried e-cigarettes has decreased by a quarter in the past five years
The number of Dutch teenagers who vape is very small. Only 0.2 percent of 14-16 olds vaped regularly in 2019
99,8 percent of all Dutch users of e-cigarettes come from smoking
Riccardo Polosa, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Catania commented: “Removing flavours will not affect the rates of youth cigarette use. But, it will certainly reduce the number of options available for those adults who seek to quit smoking for good and find flavoured e-cigs effective.”
IEVA adds: “E-cigarettes offer smokers an alternative which is significantly less harmful than smoking, as emphasised by regulators such as the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands (RIVM), Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians. Public Health England concluded in a landmark review of the available evidence, that e-cigarettes represent at least 95% harm reduction versus conventional cigarettes.”
The Conference of the Parties to the WHO FCTC (COP9) will take place in November in The Hague, the Netherlands.
“Implementing the ban on flavourings could have negative effects on the conference. Rather, COP9 should pay attention to the topic of harm reduction through e-cigarettes, so that the number of smokers worldwide could be significantly reduced,” said Dustin Dahlmann, IEVA’s Chairman.
"Flavour is not a gateway to youth uptake of smoking. No evidence substantiates the association between vaping flavours and subsequent smoking initiation. We call on the Dutch government to drop this plan. There are no winners in a flavor ban, only losers.”