On April 21, 2023, the Dutch government agreed on a proposal that would completely ban the sale of nicotine pouches and other nicotine products without tobacco, such as steam stones, by regulating them under the Dutch Tobacco and Smoking Products Act (Tabaks- en rookwarenwet). Nicotine pouches are defined as “nicotine-containing pouches or sachets without tobacco for oral use.” Currently, article 3a of the Dutch Tobacco and Smoking Products Act prohibits only the marketing of tobacco for oral use, such as nicotine pouches that contain tobacco (Swedish snus). In addition, regulating nicotine pouches and other nicotine products without tobacco under the Dutch Tobacco and Smoking Products Act would make the smoking ban in workplaces and public buildings, the advertising ban, the age limit of 18 years, and other sales restrictions applicable to them. (Tabaks- en rookwarenwet arts. 5, 7, 8, 10.)
No date for entry into force of the amendment has been put forward. However, the government proposed the ban in response to a parliamentary motion, meaning this might speed up the parliamentary process.
Current Status of Nicotine Pouches
Currently, only nicotine pouches that contain tobacco fall under the prohibition in article 3a of the Tobacco and Smoking Products Act. However, nicotine pouches without tobacco that contain 0.035 milligrams or more of nicotine are prohibited because they are considered “unsafe food.” (Warenwetbesluit Bereiding en behandeling van levensmiddelenis art. 2, para. 5 in conjunction with the directly applicable EU General Food Law Regulation art. 14, paras. 1, 2; Beleidsregel Warenwet nicotinezakjes art. 2.) A 2021 study by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel en Warenautoriteit, NVWA) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, RIVM) concluded that using nicotine pouches that contain more than 0.035 mg of nicotine can lead to health damage. According to the study, nicotine can affect the peripheral and central nervous system, such as by causing an increase in blood pressure, slow heartbeat, a heart rhythm disorder, or cardiac arrest, or have adverse effects on the respiratory tract and on the brain development in adolescents, among other things. (2021 study at 2.) The prohibition is enforced by the NVWA.
Jenny Gesley, Law Library of Congress
April 28, 2023
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