Danish vejpare are demonstrating today against a new law that could make all non-tobacco flavoured e-juices illegal in Denmark.
"Politicians don't know what they are doing. In the worst case scenario, even the nicotine addicts have to taste tobacco to be sold" says Mikkel Schmidt, one of the organisers of the event.
"All flavours except for tobacco flavours should be banned in e-cigarettes"
The Danish Minister for Health says Magnus Heunicke (s), to Danish newspaper Politikken. He is now proposing new tobacco legislation that includes e-cigarettes, with the support of almost all parties in the Danish Parliament. The Minister of Health says that e-cigarettes are "a route to smoking" for young people and that the flavours are "the main reason why young people try e-cigarettes".
Mikkel Schmidt from consumer-driven Danish Damper Association, DADAFO, notes that nearly 40 000 Danish road users are losing access to a variety of flavours. They now risk returning to smoking.
"Ordinary road users, who are not really involved in this issue, those who are just trying to quit smoking, they are the hardest hit by this. They also happen to be the majority of all road users and the group that we as a consumer organisation have difficulty reaching. Mikkel Schmidt to Vejpkollen.
Also in the firing line are 35 neighbourhood shops, many of which operate one or more physical stores across Denmark.
90 percent of their sales consist of non-tobacco flavours, according to Mikkel Schmidt.
"If this goes through, things look bleak. With taxation and a ban on popular flavours, vaping will be almost more expensive than smoking. In addition, the vape will taste like an ashtray. At the same time, it will be hard to find something better than simple starter kits, because there won't be many shops left to sell anything else," says Mr K. Mikkel Schmidt.
The bill is very vague, according to Mr Schmidt. In short, it means that all flavours in the e-juice, except for tobacco flavours, will be banned in shops. Not even neutral nicotine flavours seem to be exempt.
"It's a sweeping ban, at least as I understand it. The politicians don't seem to know what they are doing. They have only listened to radical health scientists and have not thought this through at all. In the worst case scenario, nicotine addicts will have to taste tobacco in order to be sold," says Mr Perez. Mikkel Schmidt.
According to the Danish newspaper Politikken, there is broad political agreement on the proposal. Nevertheless, there are parties in the opposition who want to see less drastic regulation.
"We did not want e-cigarette flavours to be included in the new tobacco law at all. We will be disappointed if it goes through anyway," said Mr Van Rompuy. Liselott Blixt, health policy spokesperson for the Danish People's Party, which negotiated with the government on the issue, to the magazine Politikken.
The Danish People's Party shares a position with two other liberal parties that form the opposition in Denmark to the Social Democrats and their supporting parties.
"Three out of five liberal parties support us, mostly for libertarian reasons. But they only have 24 out of 174 votes in the parliament, so unfortunately that doesn't mean much," says Mr Snyder. Mikkel Schmidt.
He argues that many politicians do not act and take positions on the basis of truth. For example, the Danish Health Authority (the Danish Health Board) has not provided accurate information about the lung damage affecting road users in the US during summer and autumn.
"Many politicians still believe that regular e-cigarettes with nicotine are responsible for the deaths in the US. The FDA has not clearly stated that the diseases were caused by illegally sold THC juices with e-acetate. To be honest, I think many politicians do not know what they are doing.
The bill will now be debated in Parliament. If passed, it will begin a long process of writing and voting on the law at least three more times before it is finally passed.
"We are not going to give up. But the only thing we can do is become more vocal" says Mikkel Schmidt."We will continue to send emails and messages to politicians and actively confront the misinformation spread about vaping in the media. We hope that the government will provide research money to study what happens if the flavours are banned, and how this will affect smoking in the country. It should at least show that we were right." says Mikkel Schmidt to Vejpkollen
The demonstration is taking place today, Tuesday, in Copenhagen. Follow it on Facebook: