Earlier this year, a public consultation about the proposal to ban flavours was meant to close on the 19th of January, but had been extended to the 2nd of February. A statement published on the Netherlands’ Government website, had revealed that the consultation was extended “due to popular demand.”
An overwhelming majority of the responses, 98.54%, opposed the ban.
In line with this, a press release by the WVA had highlighted that the country had witnessed the largest number of responses ever collected in a public consultation on health matters. More importantly, an overwhelming majority of the responses, 98.54%, had opposed the ban. This equated to 746 responses out of the total 757 submissions recorded on the official website.
The WVA had already organized two light installations to protest the ban. The Covid-friendly light shows were projected onto landmark buildings in the Hague, starting at 18.00 and ending before curfew.
The importance of flavours
Subsequently, on the morning that members of the Health Committee met to discuss the ban last Summer, the WVA held another protest outside the House of Representatives. Vapers and vape shop owners handed out samples of disgusting tasting ice creams, in a bid to remind MPs and the public the importance of flavours and how they are vital in encouraging smokers to switch.
“When this proposal was put to public consultation it received one of the biggest ever responses, with 98% of respondents opposing the ban. The message to the State Secretary was clear – vaping flavours help smokers quit, and there is huge opposition to his ridiculous plan. Vapers are outraged that a caretaker Government would continue pushing for this proposed ban after such a loud and clear message,” said Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, Michael Landl.
“A flavour ban for vaping would be a public health disaster for the Netherlands. It is incredible that a caretaker government would try to introduce such deeply controversial legislation, that would have such negative consequences for so many, before a new Government is formed,” WVA Director Michael Landl concluded.
Study indicates that flavour bans increase smoking rates
Reflecting Landl’s comments, a recent study looking into the flavour ban set in the US city of San Francisco, reported alarming findings. Titled, “The Impact of a Comprehensive Tobacco Flavour Ban in San Francisco Among Young Adults,” the current study was conducted with the aim of determining the impact of the ban on tobacco use behavior. A sample of 247 San Francisco residents were surveyed about their e-cigarette and tobacco use, before and after the flavour ban.
The study found that while the ban did lead to a decline in e-cigarettes and cigars sales, it sadly also caused a spike in smoking rates. Additionally, the researchers found that the measure was not enforced properly and 65% of participants reported being able to obtain flavoured products in multiple ways.
“These findings suggest that comprehensive local flavor bans, by themselves, cannot sharply reduce the availability or use of flavored tobacco products among residents. Nevertheless, local bans can still significantly reduce overall e-cigarette use and cigar smoking but may increase cigarette smoking,” concluded the study.