AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands plans to ban flavoured electronic cigarettes from next year to make vaping less attractive to young people, the government said on Tuesday.
Flavours currently available range from mojito and strawberry ice cream to mango and chocolate, the government said.
With its sweet tastes and perceived lower health risks, vaping has rapidly become popular among young non-smokers, who are often seen to use them as a stepping stone to regular tobacco products.
"It is unacceptable that 20,000 people die every year in our country from the effects of smoking and that every day around 75 kids start smoking", deputy health minister Paul Blokhuis said.
"The smoke-free generation we see coming also needs to be free of electronic cigarettes."
The government will refine the tobacco law to include the ban on flavoured e-cigarettes, which is likely to take effect in the first half of next year, the government said.
Tobacco-flavoured vaping products will remain available, mainly to help regular smokers kick their habit, it said.
E-cigarettes, which electrically vaporize a nicotine-infused solution, are defended by proponents as a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes. But studies have shown the devices were more damaging to health than expected.
In 2015, the Dutch Institute for Public Health showed smoke from e-cigarettes contained all kinds of chemical substances which could cause cancer. Late last year, U.S. researchers said the use of them increased the risk of developing chronic lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema. [nL1N28R0JW]
A Dutch government report in 2017 said that over a quarter of people aged 12-16 said they had tried vaping at least once.
Electronic cigarettes and water pipes have been banned in the Netherlands for anyone under the age of 18 since 2016.
(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Susan Fenton)