The government originally announced that a ban would take place on August 1, 2022, saying that the 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.”
Instead, the Social Affairs Committee has recommended that criminalising the sale or supply of nicotine products to minors is adopted in place of an outright flavour ban.
“This statement, from the committee, is a far better result than we hoped for. This would more effectively address the problem of underage vaping than a strict flavour ban would," says Karl-Åke Johansson, chairman of New Nicotine Alliance Sweden.
“This marks a shift in Swedish tobacco policy” says Karl-Åke Johansson. “From a strategy of denormalising the use of everything containing nicotine, to a more outspoken harm reduction philosophy where e-cigarettes have a major role to play.”
Quite unexpectedly, things are looking bright for vapers in Sweden, according to Karl Åke Johansson. “Normally parliament tends to vote according to the committee's recommendation, but I am not completely at ease until the vote in the Riksdag is complete,” he continued.
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.
The health politicians in the Social Affairs Committee have been working and negotiating on the government's bill "Stricter rules for new nicotine products" during several sessions this spring. The discussions have circulated around a new set of rules for nicotine pouches, but also flavours in e-cigarettes, where the government had proposed a comprehensive flavour ban. Advocates say a ban would have had major consequences for 150 000 users and around all vape related companies in Sweden.
“We want a harm reduction perspective embedded in our national tobacco policy. Limiting flavours in an alternative product, which can reduce the proportion of smokers, is not in line with this.” says Johan Hultberg, representing the conservatives in the committee, to Swedish online vape magazine Vejpkollen.
Currently, although 35% of Swedish high school students are reported to have tried vaping, less than 1% are regular e-cig users which would have made banning flavoured juices overkill. Karl-Åke Johansson and NNA Sweden believe that stricter legislation is a more effective way than a flavour ban.
“To make private reselling and lending to minors an offense is a way of curbing the huge black market for illegally imported disposable e-cigarettes that has flourished in recent years. It is a business aimed exclusively at young people and minors. Of course, a flavour ban does not affect those who already sell on the black market, but if it becomes punishable it will have an impact ”says Karl-Åke Johansson.
Article in Vejpkollen - https://www.vejpkollen.se/2022/06/socialutskottet-nej-till-smakforbud-for-e-cigaretter/