A recent large survey of 2,981 Dutch vapers, found that the majority would smoke if e-cigarettes were not available. The study was carried out by consumer organization Acvoda and trade association Esigbond in The Netherlands which has about 400 thousand vapers with the average age of 45. It found that three quarters of Dutch vapers would still be smoking had they not had access to e-cigarettes and also reported that nine in ten vapers reported witnessing a health improvement after switching from smoking to vaping.

The compiled data also indicated that on average smokers had 5.1 cessation attempts before switching to e-cigarettes, and 63% of vapers reported switching because they want a less harmful alternative to smoking regular cigarettes, while 54% did so in an attempt to quit smoking. A further 46% said they believe they would have been unable to quit without the help of e-cigarettes, and 81% emphasised that the availability of flavours has played an important role in encouraging the switch.

Despite this data, local authorities are still considering a vape flavour ban and interested parties had until the 28th of September to submit their comments towards a consultation launched by the Dutch government’s proposed ban. The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA), highlighted that the proposed changes are “essentially a stealth ban on all e-liquids.”

Sweden’s SmokeFree status

Meanwhile, Sweden is being applauded not only for reaching a smokefree status but also for recently rejecting a ban on flavours. A chart published in May 2017 by the EU as part of a survey looking into smoking behaviour across the union, lists Bulgaria, Greece and France as the countries with the highest smoking rates at 36%, 35% and 33% respectively. Whilst at the bottom of this list were the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, all at 16%, and finally, Sweden, at an impressive 5%.

Sweden is known for having reached this status thanks to adopting a harm reduction strategy in a favour of a forbidding stance, by endorsing the use of snus for smoking cessation. Snus is a moist powder tobacco product that is placed under the upper lip for extended periods.

The product is mostly popular in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, however it is only legal in Sweden where it is considered an effective tobacco harm reduction product. In fact, snus has not only led to Sweden boasting the lowest smoking rates in Europe, but more importantly, also to reporting the lowest rates of lung cancer across the continent.

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