The Netherlands wants to ban nicotine pouches

The Dutch government has already banned flavours in e-cigs. Now it wants to ban all types of nicotine pouches. This is despite the fact that almost 20 per cent of the population smokes, 14 per cent of whom smoke daily.
"In Holland, you'll be able to smoke yourself to death, get drunk, get high in a coffeeshop, but if you like nicotine, God forbid, you're in trouble." says Atakan Befrits, Policy Analyst at INNCO.

Currently, it is not allowed to sell nicotine pouches with a nicotine content higher than 0.035 milligrams per bag in the Netherlands. The products are regulated under the Foodstuffs Act and may only contain as much nicotine as one litre. aubergine. Traditional nicotine pouches contain between 2 and 20 mg per pouch. Now the Dutch government wants to ban the weaker pouches as well and bring the products under the Tobacco Act instead of the Food Act.

"We propose to include non-tobacco nicotine products, as well as devices for using such products, in the Tobacco and Smoking Products Act. Non-tobacco nicotine products for oral use, such as nicotine pouches, will be banned," writes the Dutch government. the government in a statement.

"Morally wrong"

The proposal has attracted reactions, not least from user groups across Europe. The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA), which represents nearly 27 million European nicotine users, says the ban is a violation of human rights.
"Nicotine pouches are becoming increasingly popular among people who want safer alternatives to smoking. It is morally wrong to deny smokers access to products that are less harmful to their health," the organisation writes in the a press release.

In December 2022, the Dutch Parliament chose to ban in principle all flavourings in e-liquid for e-cigarettes. From 1 October 2023, only flavours reminiscent of tobacco smoke may be sold in the Netherlands.

Leads to more smokers

According to several studies restrictions on alternative nicotine products result in more people taking up smoking and fewer quitting. Similar flavour bans have voted down in Sweden, on the grounds that a ban would reduce the possibility of harm minimisation for nicotine users.

"E-cigarettes and nicotine pouches are mainly used by ex-smokers and are one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking. In Sweden, we have very few smokers, mostly because of the snus that attracts many. In other countries, nicotine pouches and e-cigarettes can have the same effect. The flavour ban, together with a possible ban on nicotine pouches, will be a pure loss for public health in the Netherlands," said Karl Åke Johansson, President of the Users' Association NNA Sweden.

"Ok to smoke, drink and get high"

According to Atakan Befrits and the INNCO organisationwhich has worked for a long time to analyse and influence policy decisions on alternatives to cigarettes, the Netherlands is painting itself into a corner. Especially when it comes to policy on nicotine, in relation to other substances.

"In Holland, you will be able to smoke yourself to death, get drunk, get high in a coffeeshop. But using nicotine safely will be impossible. How do they really think? " says Atakan Befrits to Vejpkollen.

Calls for protests

ETHRA and NNA Sweden now urge anyone who uses nicotine pouches or e-cigarettes to contact the Dutch government.
"The reasoning behind the Dutch government's proposal to completely ban nicotine pouches is based on the same illogical approach as the flavour ban. This is a matter of ideology and has no basis in modern research, whether it is about nicotine or smoking cessation," writes the report. ETHRA.

Sources for this article:
Nicotineproducten zonder tabak (open consultation on new laws for nicotine products without tobacco)

ETHRA: Dutch Danger

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