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We need to smoke, drink and eat less: RIVM proposes top 10 measures

RIVM has investigated which measures are needed to achieve the goals of the National Prevention Agreement by 2040. In the agreement it has been agreed to drastically reduce smoking, problematic alcohol consumption and obesity. However, more is needed to achieve the goals in the field of overweight and problematic alcohol consumption, according to the RIVM. It is therefore now recommending a top 10 of measures for both goals.

Smoking: an expensive hobby

Quite a few measures have already been devised to discourage smoking. For example, tobacco nowadays has to be sold out of sight, in unattractive packaging. Moreover, its price has risen sharply due to an increase in excise duty. If you smoke a pack a day, according to Jellinek’s figures, you now pay eight euros a day, or 2,920 euros a year – and that price continues to rise.

E-cigarette as a divisive fungus

In addition, investments are made in information campaigns and in the support of smokers who want to quit. Not all measures in this area are undisputed. For example, there is still a lot of debate about the regulation of the e-cigarette. For non-smokers it would be a stepping stone to start smoking, but smokers who want to quit see “vaping” as a solution. That is why shops that sell tobacco products now also offer the e-cigarette, in addition to the patches, chewing gum, spray and tablets they sell.

Ban on “tasty” flavors

Last year it was announced that State Secretary Blokhuis of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport wants to ban the different flavors for e-cigarettes as well. Especially those flavors make smoking an e-cigarette attractive. This is also evident from the recently published dissertation by Erna Krüseman, who carried out her doctoral research into the attractiveness of these flavors on behalf of Wageningen University and RIVM. However, there is “taste necessity” and a partition in place to avoid a ban on e-liquid flavors and only tobacco e-liquid: should still be sold in the future. One of the reasons that tobacco users want to switch to the electric cigarette is precisely to get rid of the tobacco taste and therefore choose a flavor to crave the real tobacco taste less quickly. E-smoker Mr-joy is popular.

Sweet and minty flavors are popular

The RIVM therefore supports the decision to ban sweet and mint-like flavors. “The findings show that e-cigarettes are likely to become less attractive if all flavors except tobacco are banned. For example, young people and non-smokers will be less likely to use e-cigarettes, which means that the risk of harmful health effects will be reduced, ”the RIVM states on their website. Attractive colors, names and logos have already been banned and since January 1, 2021, photos of e-cigarettes, e-liquids and other tobacco products such as cigars and cigarettes may no longer be displayed online.

Vapers in action

“Such a ban will also make the e-cigarette a less attractive alternative for smokers who want to quit smoking,” they write at the back. But whether that is a plus or a minus, is not stated in the text. In any case, many vapers have a strong opinion about it. According to the Nederlands Dagblad, a petition against the ban on flavors has already been signed 19,000 times on 1 February this year.

A nice alternative, or a stepping stone?

The initiator of the petition, consumer organization for e-cigarette users Acvoda, wants to get rid of the ban, because they are afraid that former smokers will fall back on tobacco if the flavors disappear. “We don’t see anyone in our community who first started to smoke and then started smoking, so there is simply no question of a stepping stone”. buy online e liquids for cheaper price.

The sugar tax

The measures that the RIVM is now proposing against excessive drinking and overweight will undoubtedly also attract a lot of resistance. The “sugar tax” is a clear example of this. This has been discussed for a long time, but policy to make unhealthy products more expensive has still not been implemented.

The five-dollar bracket in the workplace

Time will tell whether the other proposed measures can count on sufficient support. According to the RIVM, it would make a difference if VAT on products from the bracket of five is abolished, and if the sale of fast food is allowed in fewer places. In addition, they also propose to make stricter agreements about healthy eating in the workplace.

Alcohol no longer in the supermarket

To reduce alcohol consumption, the experts want young people not to be confronted with alcohol ads. Also, liquor should only be sold at liquor stores, there should be more information about the negative effects of alcohol, and a financial discouragement policy is needed. . A minimum unit price for alcohol should be introduced, discounts should be banned, and excise duty should be increased. 

The support and the money

These are serious measures, but they are necessary to achieve the intended goals by 2040, according to the RIVM. The question remains of course whether it can be paid, and whether the average Dutch person is waiting for the government to interfere with its citizens in this way. It is true that two thirds want to get rid of the sale of tobacco in supermarkets as soon as possible, but the question is whether this also applies to the more established beers and bottles of wine.


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