New regulations in Netherlands cause vape shops to move to Flanders

New vape shops are appearing in several Flemish border communities, opened by Dutch people avoiding stricter regulations in their own country, De Standaard reports.

From 1 January, Dutch e-cigarettes will only be allowed to taste like tobacco. By eliminating the choice of flavours currently available, the government wants to reduce their appeal to young people. As a result, shop owners are increasingly crossing the border to continue their business in Flanders.

There are many more regulations in Belgium than in the Netherlands

Belgian chain Vapor Shop pulled out of the Netherlands last year and now operates six stores in Belgian-Dutch border communities.

"There are many more regulations in Belgium than in the Netherlands," co-founder Bert Geens told De Standaard. "There will even be a display ban in 2025. These regulations may not always be what we want, but at least there is a clear framework. We've noticed that most retailers in the Netherlands don't follow any rules."

The move is being closely watched. "Vape shops in our country have to follow the rules," said federal Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke of Flemish socialist Vooruit. "We will monitor this, and in case of violations, we can close the shops."


#FlandersNewsService | © PHOTO DENIS CHARLET / AFP

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