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The Dutch Delight: Standardizing E-Cigarettes for a Healthier Tomorrow


In a move that’s causing ripples in the vaping world, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has proposed a daring plan to standardize the functionality and appearance of e-cigarettes. The aim? To make these devices less attractive, particularly to the youth. The proposal, outlined in the document “Options for reducing the attractiveness of e-cigarettes by standardizing appearance and functionality,” highlights a series of strategies to tackle the issue head-on. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of this proposal and see what the Dutch are cooking up to curb the vaping trend among youngsters.

The Appeal of E-Cigarettes: A Closer Look

The document from RIVM underscores the fact that the current diversity in e-cigarette products caters to various consumer groups, each with distinct preferences and needs. Manufacturers have capitalized on this by continuously innovating, creating products that are not only functional but also highly attractive. This variety includes everything from sleek designs and customizable features to advanced technical specifications that appeal to different segments of users, including the tech-savvy and those seeking novelty.

RIVM notes that the allure of these products is enhanced by their concealability, aesthetics, ease of use, and technical features. For instance, some devices are designed for “high cloud volume inhalation” or “oil drip inhalation,” methods that have gained popularity among young users in the United States. These features, combined with the convenience and modifiability of e-cigarettes, make them a potent draw for the younger demographic, something the RIVM aims to neutralize.

Why Standardization Might Work

The RIVM argues that people are less likely to use e-cigarettes that lack visual appeal. Their proposal to enforce standardized designs is rooted in the belief that eliminating the aesthetic and customizable features can reduce the product’s attractiveness, especially to minors. The agency suggests that there are various ways to standardize e-cigarette device designs, though more research is needed to pinpoint which features would be most effective in deterring youth usage.

One proposed approach involves creating a simplified design devoid of any fancy aesthetics, modifiable features, or adjustable settings. The envisioned device would resemble the first-generation e-cigarettes, which mimicked the shape and appearance of traditional cigarettes. Such a design might not appeal to young people new to nicotine, but it could still be a viable option for current smokers looking to transition to e-cigarettes.

The Simplified Standardized Design

Under the proposed “simplified standardized design,” e-cigarettes would adopt the appearance of traditional tobacco cigarettes in the Netherlands. This would include standard size, unprinted white paper, and white or imitation wood plug tips. By stripping away the attractive elements and focusing on a plain, no-frills design, the RIVM believes the devices will lose their appeal to the youth, who often seek out stylish and trendy products.

Moreover, RIVM suggests that regulators could further diminish the allure of both tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarette devices by using dark colors and incorporating printed health warnings. The example of JUUL’s dark, sleek design limiting its appeal serves as a case in point. By adopting such measures, the agency hopes to create a less enticing image for these products, potentially curbing their usage among young people.

Looking Ahead: The Need for More Research

While the proposal is ambitious, RIVM acknowledges that more research is necessary to determine the most effective combination of features that would minimize the appeal of e-cigarettes to the youth. The agency is committed to exploring various standardization approaches and conducting further studies to refine their strategy. This ongoing research will be crucial in shaping future regulations and ensuring that the measures taken are effective in achieving their goal.

The Dutch health department’s proposal to standardize e-cigarette functionality and appearance is a bold step towards reducing youth nicotine use. By stripping away the elements that make these products attractive, the RIVM hopes to create a less appealing image and curb the rising trend of vaping among young people. While the road ahead requires more research and fine-tuning, this initiative marks a significant effort to promote public health and protect the younger generation from the allure of e-cigarettes.


In a bold move to curb youth vaping, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has proposed standardizing the functionality and appearance of e-cigarettes. Their document, “Options for reducing the attractiveness of e-cigarettes by standardizing appearance and functionality,” suggests that simplifying designs to resemble early cigarette-shaped e-cigarettes could reduce their appeal. This approach aims to eliminate features like aesthetic enhancements, modifiability, and advanced technical specs that attract young users. The proposal includes using dark colors and printed health warnings to further diminish appeal. While more research is needed to refine these strategies, RIVM’s initiative marks a significant step in promoting public health and reducing youth nicotine use. Stay tuned for more updates on this developing news.


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