The Dutch ministry of agriculture has just released details of its latest assault on tobacco harm reduction. The new Tobacco Act brings in sweeping new restrictions on a vapour product market already crippled by EU law, and threatens to wipe out whole product categories – as well as pushing already struggling vape shops to the edge of collapse.

Among the most controversial moves are a ban on shortfill liquids, a solution adopted by many vapers to reduce inconvenience and packaging waste. The waste problem will be made even worse by new requirements to include information leaflets with every product, warning about hypothetical risks. A typical purchase of a 100ml shortfill bottle and two nicotine shots will now be replaced by ten TPD-compliant bottles with mandatory packaging and leaflets.

It will also become illegal to sell extension kits for tanks. Many manufacturers have countered the TPD limit on tank size by selling kits that contain a larger glass tube and extended chimney. These are legal under the TPD because they don’t qualify as a vape device – but they allow consumers to assemble an atomiser with a more practical tank capacity.

Because the Netherlands hasn’t followed some other EU states in banning cross-border purchases of vapour products – although these bans are almost impossible to police – many Dutch vapers will simply move their custom from brick and mortar vape shops to online vendors in neighbouring Germany. As vape shops make most of their income from liquid sales this is likely to be catastrophic for many small businesses.

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