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Sweden’s Heavy-Handed Mistake

150,000 ex-smokers could be forced back to cigarettes if vaping flavours are banned according to the World Vapers’ Alliance

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150,000 former smokers in Sweden could be forced to switch back to smoking if the government goes ahead with its proposed ban on vaping flavours. The Ministry of Social Affairs announced its plan to ban all flavours except tobacco. The World Vapers’ Alliance has condemned the regressive measure.

The government wants to regulate alternative nicotine products including vaping and nicotine pouches tougher. The new regulations and modifications are scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2022, but sections of the proposals will take effect on January 1, 2023 and January 1, 2024, respectively, to provide stakeholders time to adjust to the new requirements.

The Swedish government says that its measures need to be enacted because, “it is necessary to protect people and prevent all children and young people from damaging the effects of these products.”

Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance commented: “Banning flavours could force thousands of former smokers in Sweden to take up the habit once again. Research shows vapers are more than twice as likely to quit with flavours. If they are banned, 150.000 vapers - the equivalent of almost the entire population of Uppsala - would lose their flavours and could go back to smoking. This would be a major setback in the fight against smoking and its related illnesses.

“It is worrying that a country like Sweden, famed for its pragmatism, is taking such a heavy-handed approach towards vaping. Politicians have lost their common sense, and it is vapers and smokers who will suffer”.

According to Yale School of Public Health vaping flavoured e-cigarettes is associated with an 230% increase in the odds of adult smoking cessation. By not reminding vapers of the taste of tobacco, flavours are more likely to keep people off traditional cigarettes.

Two thirds of adults are using other flavours than tobacco. That means that bans could send many of them back to cigarettes or to the black market. A flavour ban in San Francisco resulted in rising smoking rates among teenagers for the first time in decades.

Therefore, banning flavours would have a profoundly negative effect on society. Vaping is a highly effective smoking cessation tool. It is considered 95% less harmful than cigarettes and flavours are an integral part of the success.

“Unless the Swedish government wants to force thousands of former smokers back to smoking, they need to reconsider their plans on a liquid flavour ban to prevent a public health crisis,” concluded Michael Landl.

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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