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Esigbond causes delay of taste ban on e-cigarettes

Due to the negligence of the vape industry, cancer-causing flavors ended up on a list of 23 substances that could be allowed after the flavor ban came into effect. The Esigbond warned VWS that the RIVM asked for new research, as a result of which the taste ban has been postponed by six months. State Secretary Van Ooijen, meanwhile, sees no problem in (written) contact with the vape industry.

Popularity disposable vapes

Disposable vapes (referred to as “puffs” by the industry) and electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity among young people around the world. In Australia, the number of smokers fell, but the number of vapers between the ages of 16 and 24 has doubled. Both French newspapers and NRC reported on the enormous popularity of the colorful puffs among French students, for whom vaping has become ‘a real lifestyle’. And the brightly colored vape pens with sweet flavors are also incredibly popular in Great Britain, partly thanks to sophisticated marketing via TikTok, reports The Times.

In the Netherlands, the popularity of disposable vapes among young people is growing at the same rate. “It is already the case among young people that e-cigarettes are used more than regular cigarettes,” Thomas Martinelli of the Institute for Research on Lifestyles & Addictions (IVO) told NH Nieuws. And Het Parool found that nicotine is making a comeback in young people and that smoking, vaping and snuff is ‘in’ among young people.


Colors and sweet flavors

That this is precisely the intention of the nicotine industry can be inferred from the appearance of the disposable vapes it markets.Buy e liquid online at mr-joy.comfor more information. industry is trying to market e-cigarettes as a less harmful alternative to smokers of traditional cigarettes, but it’s clear who’s really targeting them.

The brightly colored rods sometimes resemble fluorescent marker pens, which therefore do not stand out in a pencil case or bag of a schoolchild. “That makes it easy for school-going young people to hide them from parents and teachers,” noted the Flemish newspaper Het Laatse Nieuws. The colors and wide choice of sweet flavors (mango, cola, strawberry ice cream, fuji apple nectarine, coconut melon and kiwi passion fruit, to name a few) are clearly aimed at young people, says cancer prevention expert Veerle Maes van Kom. Op Tegen Kanker in the newspaper: “A 50-year-old man who wants to quit smoking will not choose a purple e-cigarette with a bubblegum flavor.”


Flavor ban delayed

It is therefore not surprising that the Dutch government decided to ban all those exotic flavors in e-cigarettes. Soon they will only be allowed to taste like tobacco. In April, Thomas Martinelli of the IVO expressed the expectation in NH Nieuws that the use of the vape pens will decrease enormously as a result. “The use will decrease, because the taste is indeed something that makes the e-cigarette attractive,” he said. An unnamed boy the vapet also thinks he will stop when the flavors are no longer allowed.

Everyone assumed that the ban would come into effect on July 1 of this year, as the government itself announced in May last year. But last week RTL Nieuws reported that the ban has been postponed by six months. This was already known in February, when State Secretary Van Ooijen (VWS) said in response to parliamentary questions from Caroline van der Plas (BBB) ​​that the intended entry into force of the scheme is January 1, 2023. In the meantime, the government no longer mentions a date for the introduction on its own website.


Correspondence with State Secretary Van Ooijen

The postponement would be the result, a spokesperson for VWS told RTL, of the discovery that some of the limitative list of 23 flavorings with which a tobacco flavor can be made, drawn up by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) was found to be carcinogenic. to be. This came to light after a warning from the Esigbond, the trade association of e-cigarette sellers reported in response to the news from RTL. In a letter from January sent to the newly appointed State Secretary Van Ooijen, the union wrote in November that it proposed to enter into consultation with the ministry: “Last November (see appendix 1) we appealed to your ministry to to consult with us in drawing up the announced draft scheme. Unfortunately, this appointment has not yet taken place.”

At the end of March, Van Ooijen responded by letter. In it he writes that he should decline a proposed introductory meeting with the Esigbond “In view of the shared interests of your organization and those of the tobacco industry, I prefer written contact, so that all communication is retrievable and verifiable and the appearance ofinfluence on policy by the tobacco industry.”

Apparently, in the eyes of the Secretary of State, there is a distinction between the tobacco industry and the e-cigarette industry, so that contact with the latter, albeit only in writing, would be permitted. That’s a curious distinction, because in reality the vape industry is simply an extension of the tobacco industry, pretending that it has the best interests of humanity through a pursuit of ‘harm reduction’. In reality, there is one large nicotine industry (Big Nicotine) that tries to make as many people as possible addicted to nicotine as young as possible through various means. Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on disabling tobacco industry influence policy, therefore applies equally to the lobby for alternative smoking products.


Research based on industry information

In the meantime, the Esigbond has certainly had its influence and managed to postpone the taste ban, which the association strongly protests against, for six months. Now that those colorful smoke candy canes are just on the rise, that’s a good thing for the vape industry. What happened? RIVM has announced that the first study, which resulted in the list of 23 tobacco flavors, did not look at the toxicity of those substances. “In the first report, this was not a research question, it was about the taste properties of the substances,” writes researcher Reinskje Talhout of the institute by email. “For this report, we assumed data on all products that were in the EU-CEG database at that time, provided by the manufacturers. We continued to work with substances that were used in at least 0.5% of the tobacco liquids.”

This seems to contradict what the Esigbond argues, namely that two substances on the list, isophorone and pyridine, are known to be carcinogenic. “These substances have not been used by the e-cigarette industry for a long time,” the union said.

If so, it turns out that the EU-CEG database, which keeps information on ingredients, emissions and toxicological properties of tobacco products and e-cigarettes, is not up-to-date. Manufacturers and distributors have been obliged to supply this information since 2016. In his letter to the Esigbond, State Secretary Van Ooijen writes about this: “Of course I find it worrying that in a substantial number of liquids that are registered for the Dutch market in the EU-CEG, these substances are registered as ingredients. You also mention in your letter that the data in EU-CEG is often not (any longer) correct. I also find that worrying since this is a legal obligation.”


New investigation after Esigbond warning

Van Ooijen further writes that “partly on the basis of your letter, it has been decided to instruct RIVM to carry out a desk study into the toxicological properties of the substances proposed by RIVM in the report.” The outcome of that second RIVM study was that 7 of the 23 flavorings can be found to have harmful health effects. “For the remaining 16 flavorings, there is not enough information to assess health effects,” the institute writes. This can lead to two conclusions, according to the RIVM. Either these 16 substances will also be banned as a precaution, or they will be allowed anyway so that the e-cigarette remains available to smokers as an aid to quitting.


E-cigarettes are always harmful

Please note that this latest study only concerns the investigated flavorings in e-cigarettes. The liquids vaporized in e-cigarettes also contain other ingredients, which have been well established to have a negative impact on health. Just last week, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) published a national advisory on the use of e-cigarettes based on the latest scientific evidence. That opinion states unequivocally that the vapor from e-cigarettes can be harmful and that there is limited evidence that e-cigarettes are effective in helping smokers to quit. The main conclusions of the advice are:


“- All e-cigarette users are exposed to chemicals and toxins that can cause harm. In addition to nicotine, more than 200 chemicals have been associated with e-liquids.

– E-cigarettes containing nicotine are addictive and users who have never smoked are more likely to start smoking.

– E-cigarettes are not proven safe and effective smoking cessation aids. There are other proven safe and effective options to help smokers quit.”


Anne Kelso, CEO of NHMRC, summarizes it succinctly: “The design and technologyk of e-cigarettes continues to develop, but the method is the same: e-cigarettes deliver harmful substances directly into the lungs.”