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RIVM E-cigarette policy in the Netherlands

The Dutch government does not exactly adopt a friendly attitude towards e-cigarettes. This hard line, which can also be found in current legislation, often refers to incidental cases in the United States in particular. It is of course the responsibility of the government to inform citizens about harmful habits and dangerous matters. Nevertheless, the official RIVM e-cigarette policy in the Netherlands appears to deviate strongly from the policy in The Hague.

Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment

When positive stories come out about e-cigarettes, this can be colored by companies that sell these products. This also applies to investigations with negative results paid for by the tobacco industry. In this case it concerns independent research by the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), based on subsidization and collaboration with the University of Maastricht. In contrast to studies from the period 2014-2016 that are often referred to, the RIVM e-cigarette policy in the Netherlands is based on research results that were published at the end of 2019. The conclusions are striking, especially in view of current government policy and public opinion.

E-cigarettes are not hip and trendy

The first striking conclusion from a study with 1307 participants is that no less than 97% of users have smoked for more than ten years. So it is not the young people who are massively involved in e-cigarettes. It is also striking that more than 72% indicate that they have made the choice because of the positive health effects. A result that seems to be at odds with media coverage. What the device looks like does not seem to interest the participants, and e-cigarettes are unanimously not seen as 'hip' or 'trendy'. According to the RIVM e-cigarette policy in the Netherlands, vapors should be seen as a less harmful alternative to smoking.

The conclusions of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment are not in line with government policy. The government has fallen prey to mood-making and half-truths, while the official RIVM has shown that e-cigarettes are indeed the better alternative to smoking.