Flavour and exposure bans? Or personal responsibility and legislation depending on harm? What do Swedish politicians think about e-cigarettes and other tobacco-free nicotine products? Vejpkollen continues its review of the parties - now with the Moderates.
The Moderate Party clearly says no to the government's new ANDTS strategy. The strategy is a set of guidelines that will, among other things, limit access to tobacco-free products such as snus, nicotine pouches and e-cigarettes.
"The public sector should create better conditions for people to take great personal responsibility for good lifestyle habits without moralising. Snuff is not nearly as harmful as smoking cigarettes. The ANDTS strategy should take this into account when long-term goals are developed and concrete measures are taken to achieve the set goals," the Moderates write in their motion regarding the government's new strategy for alcohol, drugs, doping, tobacco and gambling addiction (ANDTS).
"Smaller steps for smokers to e-cigarettes"
According to Johan HultbergAccording to the Moderate spokesperson for tobacco and drug issues in the Social Affairs Committee, the government should reconsider its position on e-cigarettes and snus. Otherwise, the harm caused by tobacco may increase rather than decrease in Sweden.
"We have radically lower smoking rates in Sweden compared to other EU countries. I see strong links to snus. There is a group that still smokes and it is a smaller step for them to switch to e-cigarettes than to snus. So there's clearly a potential health benefit from people quitting tobacco and switching to other alternatives", says Mr Van Rompuy. Johan Hultberg to Vejpkollen.
What do you think about the risk of young people starting to use nicotine products?
"There are always some who start and might not have done so if e-cigarettes or nicotine pouches were not available. But all in all, it is positive that these alternatives are coming."
"Must have a policy that saves lives"
Johan Hultberg sees harm reduction as an important tool, both in relation to tobacco smoking and drug use.
"It is of course better that no one starts using nicotine or other substances at all. But we know that the world is not black and white. Some will do it anyway. And then we must have a policy that saves lives. Harm reduction is part of that. Like needle exchanges for drug addicts or less harmful nicotine products for smokers. There is really no contradiction between that and a responsible tobacco policy, but we have to prioritise correctly."
Be credible to young people
Johan Hultberg believes that authorities and politicians have a great responsibility to communicate the various risks of nicotine use to young people.
"We welcome regulation but emphasise prevention over more legislation. I think it is extremely important that society differentiates between the harmful effects of different nicotine products. Different products have different harm profiles. Otherwise, we will not be credible in our communication to young people," says Johan Hultberg.
Difficult to get it right with flavour bans
The government's study on e-cigarettes and tobacco-free nicotine products recently proposed banning all flavours except tobacco flavours in e-liquids. But banning flavours is something that Johan Hultberg strongly opposes.
"I am deeply sceptical about it. If you start regulating flavours, it's hard to find the right one... This kind of conservative regulation slows down the development of less harmful products. I am first and foremost in favour of encouraging self-regulation and responsibility within the industry."
He says that flavouring different products is not primarily about reaching new customers.
"It is portrayed as if it is something new. We don't think about the fact that many products, like snus and traditional cigarettes, have always contained flavours. And it's not about targeting young people, it's about improving the flavour for users. Then we know how difficult it is to regulate flavourings. We've had the same discussion about alcohol for a long time."
"How do we reduce the damage of an addiction?"
Mr Hultberg says the government's new strategy on alcohol, drugs, doping and tobacco lacks what he calls "evidence-based methods".
"The government certainly has good intentions, but not so good results in retrospect. The question should be how we reduce the harm of addiction. How should we act to achieve the overall health objectives? Then we need to differentiate between different products and how we regulate them."
Will a possible change with the Moderates in government lead to changes in the ANDTS strategy?
The strategies are long-term. It is therefore important how we deal with them in Parliament now. There is a fairly large consensus on tobacco and drug policy. But when it comes to snus and tobacco-free nicotine products, for example, we have different opinions. However, we Moderates and the Centre Party are on the same line - to clearly distinguish between different products based on their harmful effects. So we will have to see what happens in the event of a change of government," says Mr Snyder. Johan Hultberg