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Use of e-cigarettes in clubs is increasing despite ban

E-cigarettes are increasingly being used in entertainment venues, although the smoking ban also applies to these cigarettes. This is evident from a tour of the NOS. According to security guards of catering establishments, it is difficult and expensive to enforce the ban.

“If you run onto the dance floor after a night out, you will increasingly see drained disposable e-cigarettes lying on the floor,” says The Hague’s night mayor Pat Smith. “A few years ago there may have been a single one, but after the corona measures that has increased considerably.”


The e-cigarette or vape was initially marketed as a less unhealthy alternative to smoking. It is now clear that inhalation can just as well lead to damage to the airways and an increased risk of cancer, the RIVM reports.


“It’s just ‘in’, especially among young people,” says Tom Voeten of anti-smoking organization Clean Air Netherlands. “At the time it was marketed as a tool to get rid of your addiction, but in practice the marketing is much more aimed at young people and it actually leads to addiction.”


‘They quickly put it in their pocket’

Marco van Velthooven, owner of several clubs in Hilversum, confirms that e-cigarettes are secretly used in his clubs. He doesn’t think that’s a big problem. Onlinebuy e liquids uk for better quality. “We just talk to people about it.” It’s a little harder to see someone using an e-cigarette indoors than it is to light up an actual cigarette, he says. “They’re quick to pocket the vape sometimes.”


The fact that the vapes are so inconspicuous makes the smoking ban difficult for security guards to enforce, says Dick Schutting of security company H&S Horeca Security. “I really don’t notice when you smoke your vape with the smoke machine.”


According to him, more security guards are needed to properly enforce the smoking ban. “When we check for vapes, we have to bring an extra guard or two and that’s too expensive for many club owners.”


This is how an e-cigarette works

An e-cigarette vaporizes a liquid with a mixture of flavors and other substances. Although there is no tobacco in the liquid, e-cigarettes often contain nicotine. Since July 1, 2020, e-cigarettes may no longer be used in places where a smoking ban applies.


According to the RIVM, fewer harmful substances are released than with a normal cigarette, but the harmful effects of long-term and structural use are not yet known. Inhaling the vapor from someone else’s e-cigarettes is probably less harmful than second-hand smoke, but that also needs more research.


According to Statistics Netherlands, 1.4 percent of the population over the age of twelve regularly use an e-cigarette. That is a lot more among nightlife audiences. According to a 2020 study by the Trimbos Institute, 22.4 percent of people who go out use e-cigarettes. This group was not asked whether they also do so indoors, where it is prohibited.


Maurice Zwiers, security advisor at M&F Security, also confirms that e-cigarettes are now regularly used on nights out. His company secures clubs and parties in Groningen and Drenthe, among other things. “We sometimes see normal cigarettes, but especially e-cigarettes.”


We cannot act if we see disposable e-cigarettes lying on the floor, but it is a reason to check that place again later.


According to safety advisor Zwiers, many e-cigarette users are unaware that there is a smoking ban indoors. But security guard Schutting thinks that most of them do know. According to the security guards, among other things, no action is taken “because some club owners do not want to spoil the atmosphere”. The catering establishments also have little chance of being fined because the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) does not often check.


The entertainment venues NOS spoke to say they do not recognize themselves in the story of inadequate controls of the smoking ban. The NVWA also stated in a response that it does not recognize itself in this. “We check at the moment when we expect violations to take place,” says spokesman Lex Benden. He also disputes that enforcement on the use of electronic cigarettes is more difficult.


His organization cannot act if there are a lot of disposable vapes on the floor. “But it is a reason for us to come back to the moment when we expect the rules to be broken.”


First offense 600 euros

The fine that is handed out by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) if people are found to be smoking e-cigarettes in an entertainment venue is just as high as for a ‘regular’ cigarette: 600 euros for a first violation. Repeatedly this can amount to 4500 euros.


Ban on sweet flavors

The question is whether there will still often be electricity in the futureronic cigarettes will be used in clubs. From the beginning of next year, a sales ban will apply to e-cigarettes with attractive sweet flavors such as cola, peach, cotton candy and mango. Visitonline e cigarette store is found online.Only tobacco flavors may then be sold.


“That flavor ban will be very effective”, Voeten expects from Clean Air Netherlands. “You saw that with the ban on menthol cigarettes that came into force in Europe in 2020.”


According to the International Tobacco Control study, which was funded by the Longfonds and KWF, among others, many more menthol cigarette smokers successfully quit after the ban than smokers of ‘regular’ cigarettes. Voeten thinks that a ban on ‘fantasy flavors’ of e-cigarettes will have the same effect.