The Dutch government only wants to allow 23 e-cigarette flavourings with a tobacco-taste. RIVM examined whether these 23 flavourings are harmful to people’s health. Seven of the flavourings were found to be potentially harmful. RIVM advises the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport to ban these flavourings.

The study shows that two flavourings may cause cancer. Another flavouring may cause allergies. RIVM recommends that the Ministry ban these three flavourings. Three other flavourings may pose a health risk at the highest concentrations in liquids in e-cigarettes. Another flavouring may irritate the lungs and thereby may cause harm. RIVM recommends banning these four flavourings as well.

Insufficient information

There is insufficient information to assess the health effects of the remaining 16 flavourings. RIVM proposes two options. The first option is to ban these flavourings, as it is unclear whether they are potentially harmful. The other option is to allow the use of these flavourings in e-cigarettes nevertheless, to keep the products on the market to help people stop smoking.

Studies on e-cigarette flavourings

The Dutch government wants to make e-cigarettes less attractive, particularly to young people. Specific flavourings (sweet, fruity) make e-cigarette use more attractive, so the government has decided to allow only flavourings have a tobacco-taste like. At the request of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, RIVM previously assessed over 500 flavourings that are currently being used in e-liquids. This led to the recommendation to limit the number of allowed flavourings to 23 flavourings. As a follow-up, the Ministry has asked RIVM to study the health risks of these 23 flavourings.