"If the politicians don't come to us - we have to come to the politicians"
Denmark is banning flavours in e-juice. This became clear after the Danish Parliament voted in favour of the government's proposal late last year. Now the country's political parties are raising their voices - by getting involved in politics.
DADAFO, the Danish consumer association for vejpare, is launching a political party. The reason is the upcoming ban on flavours in e-juice, as the parliament voted in late last year. DADAFO organised a demonstration outside Copenhagen Castle on the same day as the parties debated the bill.
"But nobody listened to us, the users. And yet we are the ones directly affected by the ban. The politicians didn't even try. And the media silenced all our attempts to reach out. We had no place at all in the debate," says Mr Perez. Jeanett Bergfriedt Andersen, one of the organisers of the The steam batch and active in DADAFO.
The day after the demonstration in Copenhagen, the decision was made: all flavours in e-liquids except tobacco and menthol are to be become illegal to sell in Denmark in the near future.
Already tough rules for e-cigs
For some years now, Denmark has implemented the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) in their laws. This means that e-cigarettes are heavily regulated with restrictions on marketing, bottle size requirements, a maximum nicotine content of 20 mg and product registration six months before sale. The country also has an age limit for purchase (18 years). But a flavour ban would hit the country's vape shops harder than EU law, says DADAFO. The shops' sales consist largely of flavoured e-juice, as does customer demand.
The current draft law will now reviewed and designed in several bodies, including the Legislative Council. This is a process that DADAFO and the newly formed Damp party hope to influence.
"The idea is not to be a party that runs in the next election, really. But it's an attempt to make our voices heard, through the attention it can bring," says Mr Perez. Jeanett Bergfriedt Andersen
Tobacco companies and the pharmaceutical industry
DADAFO currently has 3000 members. The party needs 20 180 signatures to stand in the next elections (2023). So far, the Steam Party has collected 500.
'Now we hope that most of the vape shops in Denmark will support us with information and help us recruit members. But we are fighting against the propaganda from big tobacco and pharmaceutical companies. If our politicians do not talk and listen to us, things will not go well. It could mean that we have no vejpshoppers left in half a year."
This spring, the Vapour Party will launch campaigns to get the message out that "Tobacco harm reduction should be a political priority". And that flavours in e-juice help smokers quit cigarettes for good.