9 June 2020

7 basics on e-cigarettes and vaping in the Netherlands

Category: Administrative law

The rules relating to e-cigarettes and vaporizers in the Netherlands are set out in the Tobacco and Smoke Products Act. Among other things, the following areas are regulated by these laws.

  1. Age limit on e-cigarettes
  2. The age limit of 18 years applies to the use of tabacco and e-cigarettes. The seller must actively check the age of the purchaser of smoking products. Every youth under 25 years should be asked to show an ID. Youth in a group should all should their ID if they wish to purchase.

2. Safety of smoking materials

The safety of e-cigarettes is of paramount importance. A company is responsible for the safety of e-cigarettes and any refill fluids it designs, manufactures or trades. The company must comply with the laws and regulations. Specific legislation takes precedence over general legislation.

3. Design an shape requirements for e-cigarettes and vapours

Requirements include the form of e-cigarettes and vapours; the release of the nicotine dose; the maximum volume of a refill container (2 ml); and child-resistant locks. In order to prevent and limit health risks as much as possible, the central government has chosen to apply the applicable requirements to e-cigarettes with nicotine and e-cigarettes without nicotine (so-called shisha pens). From July 2017 there are stricter rules for electronic cigarettes that do not contain nicotine.

4. Liquid requirements for E-cigs and E-liquids for vaping

Liquid requirements: For example, the maximum quantity in a refill pack (10 ml) and quality requirements. For the refill liquid for E-cigs and E-liquids for vaping, the REACH regulation (production and trade) and the CLP regulation (classification and labelling) apply. The USB charger and the battery must comply with the requirements of the Commodities Act. E-cigarettes and refill packs registered as medicinal products are subject to the Medicines Act. Different rules apply to e-cigarettes and refill packs that are registered as medicinal products.

5. Labelling rules for smoking products

Smoking products, including e-cigarettes and vaporizers, are subject to labelling rules. These include a mandatory leaflet accompanying smoking products containing information on potentially harmful effects and a number of warnings, such as: ‘This product contains the highly addictive substance nicotine. Its use is not recommended for non-smokers’.

6. Limitation for tabacco advertising

Advertising requirements: advertising for e-cigarettes and vapours is only permitted at physical (tobacco or) electronic cigarette shops. Other forms of advertising are prohibited.

7. Enforcement of tabacco legislation

The enforcement and monitoring of the rules for smoking products, e-cigarettes and vaporizers are carried out by the Nvwa. Infringements of tabacco laws are classified according to defined classes. In assessing the penalty to be imposed, account is taken of the extent of (the risk of) consequences for public health, the remediability, and whether there is calculated and/or conscious risk-taking behaviour. The greater (the risk of) consequences, the higher the classification of the violation. Where there is more than one violation identified by the Nvwa (in terms of seriousness, number and timeframe), this will be subject to a penalty payment or an administrative order.