In many countries, including Belgium, vaping is considered similarly as tobacco products.
But for some, it is not enough. The most represented party within the Representatives Chamber in Belgium, Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA, in French Alliance Néo-Flamande) is embodied by Rep. Renate Hufkens. It has just presented several proposals aiming at strengthening one more time vaping regulations.
The ideas of Ms. Hufkens can be summed up in 3 main points:
- ban flavored nicotine e-liquids
- limit advertising for vaping
- implement an excise tax on juices
According to this proposal, only neutral nicotine bases – to which users can add aromas themselves – would be allowed. As for taxation, e-liquids are today only taxed with VAT in Belgium as in France. The idea would thus be to add an excise tax, which is an indirect tax. It is perceived on consumption and sale of some products such as tobacco and alcohol. Rep. Hufkens justifies this idea to tax liquids by studies which “have shown that the increase of excise taxes on tobacco has an impact on the number of smokers, especially among the youth. We can logically apply the same approach to e-cigarette”. Finally, she wishes for a strictly regulated communication so that electronic cigarettes are not presented as a sound alternative to cigarette.
Vaping less harmful than smoking
The Belgian representative seems to ignore that many studies have proven that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Vaping is less addictive, according to a Penn State College of Medicine study, doesn’t lead to pulmonary risks, as Professor Ricardo Polosa explains and is not harmful for passive vapers, contrary to passive smokers. In short, vaping is less dangerous than smoking.