The government wishes to make e-cigarettes less attractive, in particular for young people. As certain flavourings (sweet, fruity) promote the use of e-cigarettes, the government has decided to allow only e-cigarettes with the taste of tobacco on the market in the future. RIVM has carried out a study into the flavourings currently in use and recommends limiting the number of flavourings permitted to 23 substances that, independently or in combination, have the taste of tobacco.
If only these substances are used, RIVM expects that the use of e-cigarettes will become less attractive. This will support one of the goals of the National Prevention Agreement: ensuring that young people and non-smokers are less likely to use e-cigarettes. The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport will have the final say in determining which substances are allowed. The point of departure is that only liquids with tobacco flavourings will be allowed to enter the market.
E-cigarettes may be less attractive as a tool for stopping smoking.
Adults also use e-cigarettes as a tool in order to stop smoking. In the Netherlands, most users of e-cigarettes are (ex-)smokers. Adult (ex-)smokers, as well as young non-smokers are particularly fond of sweet tastes and fruity tastes. If the only flavourings allowed are tobacco flavourings, then the e-cigarette may become less attractive as a tool. It may also result in users adding their own flavourings. They can do so using aromas that can be purchased separately. RIVM advises the Ministry to take this into account when formulating new regulations.
Conditions for the selection of flavourings for e-cigarettes
This study used the data that manufacturers have to provide on the composition of their products. A total of 503 different liquid flavourings with the taste of tobacco are used by manufacturers. Some of these flavourings are based only on the taste of tobacco, but sweet flavourings such as ethyl-maltol are often also used.
RIVM recommends reassessing the list of 23 flavourings after a certain period of time.