Yesterday’s news in the Netherlands has focussed on a call by the Association of Physicians for Pulmonary Diseases and Tuberculosis (NVALT) to ban all e-cigarette use in the country.
Spokesman Leon van den Toorn is quoted in the media saying that “worrying developments” have led to his demand for “a total ban on electronic cigarettes”. In response, State Secretary for Health Paul Blokhuis is reported to be “very curious” about “the latest medical insights from Leon van den Toorn and his colleagues” and wants to “involve their findings in the ongoing research into the health risks of e-cigarettes”.
Dutch consumer organisation and ETHRA partner ACVODA welcome Mr Blokhuis investigating this policy area but insist that all stakeholders should be consulted before the government embarks on legislative bans which could have a devastating impact on the health of Dutch smokers and ex-smokers, and consumers should be central to that.
“There is absolutely no justification for banning all e-cigarettes in the Netherlands”, says Sander Aspers, Chair of ACVODA, “Mr van den Toorn is basing his case on very one-sided and selective slides presented at a conference in Madrid last week from people ideologically opposed to any harm reduction alternatives, and has discounted the widely-reported health opportunities which reduced risk products can offer.”
“Mr Blokhuis rightly states that vaping products are allowed and strictly regulated by the EU Tobacco Products Directive, so a complete ban is out of the question. If he wants to investigate the matter diligently to the benefit of all citizens of the Netherlands, it is imperative that he meet with consumer representatives to hear our many success stories with e-cigarettes. Surely, he should see that proposing a ban on safer nicotine products which have helped hundreds of thousands of Dutch people to quit smoking while the most dangerous delivery system – cigarettes – are free to be sold all over the country is madness. Talking only to vested interests and excluding the public from the conversation is not the actions of a proud democratic EU Member State.”
ACVODA is happy to meet with Mr Blokhuis at any time of his choosing, we believe it is imperative he does so. It is important that a drastic policy to ban all vapour products includes input from all stakeholders, most especially consumers whose lives will be heavily impacted by this ill-advised threat. Published evidence reviews from respected European health bodies endorse the many benefits of reduced risk products, and there is a real danger to Dutch public health if the consumer voice is not respected.
Stichting ACVODA, actief voor dampen
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