"There is no need to flavour with enticing flavours"

Following the recommendation of government investigators, a strong proposal to ban flavouring in e-cigarettes and e-liquid could be put before Parliament in the autumn. Vejpkollen has asked representatives of the political parties what they think about vejping and harm reduction for smokers. First up are the Social Democrats.

Lena Emilsson (s) is the customs officer who represents the Social Democrats on tobacco issues in the Social Affairs Committee. She has been openly critical of e-cigarettes and snus as alternatives to tobacco smoking. At the same time, she sees the value of vejpning as a method to quit smoking.
"But if we weigh the risk of young people starting vejpa against those who want to quit smoking with the help of flavoured e-cigarettes, then I think the young people outweigh the risk significantly," she tells Vejpkollen.

According to CAN, around 70,000 Swedes use e-cigarettes daily. A large proportion of these are former smokers.
In this light, how do you see e-cigarettes in relation to smoking and smoking cessation, particularly in terms of public health? Benefits and risks?

"It is important to reduce the number of smokers because tobacco smoking causes so much harm. If you can quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes, that's good. But e-cigarettes should not be used for health reasons either."

Do you think e-cigarettes are a reasonable alternative to traditional smoking?

"The best thing is to quit smoking without switching to any other tool that reminds you of smoking. If you can't do that, the e-cigarette fulfils a function. But the disadvantage, as I see it, is that it reminds you so much of smoking that you can't break the habit. Quitting smoking is about having to break all smoking habits as well. That's why I believe more in patches or chewing gum. But then you need to cut down on nicotine too."

"Not good for young people to start"

Young people are trying e-cigarettes. 40 per cent of upper secondary school students have tried them, and one (1) per cent use e-cigarettes daily. According to CAN, the majority are already smokers when they try e-cigarettes and curiosity is said to be the most common reason. Sweden has an age limit for the purchase of both cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and legislation restricting marketing.

Do you want to do more to limit use among young people? If so, what?

"It is not good for young people to start using e-cigarettes at all. Since it's usually not about smoking cessation, it's not good." 

"Flavours in e-cigarettes should be banned"

Flavourings in e-juice are a topical issue, both in the EU and here in Sweden. Some stakeholder organisations think flavours should be limited (so as not to attract young users) while others, primarily users, see them as decisive to switch from cigarettes to vejpning.

How do you see the regulation of different flavours? And can these two interests be reconciled?

"Flavouring of e-cigarettes should be banned. There is no need to flavour them with different tempting flavours that appeal to young people. I believe that stopping flavouring is the best way to discourage young people from using e-cigarettes. Is it really the case that vejpningen as an alternative is less appealing just because flavouring is removed? I don't think so. You have to weigh the young people against those who want to quit smoking with the help of flavoured e-cigarettes and then I think the young people weigh much more heavily."

"Break the habit completely instead"

There is a lot of independent research on e-cigarettes, some in Sweden, but mostly in other countries. UK research is the most extensive, and greatly influences the UK Public Health Agency's position on e-cigarettes. The authority actively encourages smokers to quit using e-cigarettes and often emphasises the importance of harm reduction for smokers and the community (95% less risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to the agency).

What is your view on this? And do you think something similar could happen in Sweden?

"I find it hard to believe that the public health authorities would go out and say that you should switch to e-cigarettes. They are telling people to stop smoking, but not how."

But why is the approach to tobacco harm reduction so different in Sweden compared to the UK, for example?

"In Sweden, there hasn't been much talk about harm reduction, instead focusing on quitting smoking completely. There have been many campaigns for patches and chewing gum, for example, that have focused entirely on breaking the smoking habit. Harm reduction is a term that emerged later, mostly along with snus. The view in Sweden has always been that quitting smoking is the best option."

Proposal for a comprehensive flavour ban

The government's investigation is now out for consultation for comments from stakeholders. So far, there is no finalised proposal. Nevertheless, the investigator proposes a comprehensive ban on flavours in e-liquid, with the exception of tobacco flavours. This is regardless of whether the liquid is nicotine-free or not.

Vejpkollen will continuously monitor developments during the autumn. You as a reader can support the monitoring via Patreon.

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1 Comment on “”Det finns ingen anledning att smaksätta med lockande smaker”

  1. Why don't politicians understand.
    Lena Emilsson as a human being and politician has never gone outside the human zone.
    He doesn't seem to know anyone who has either.
    This means that they have used some kind of dangerous substance.
    Not being able to give it up because of the cravings my body is screaming for.
    Fats, there are so many in the food we eat and in the air we breathe.
    An alcoholic's system should ban spirits with different flavours of exactly the same thing.
    Flavoured condoms, my God, we might all become nymphomaniacs.
    Then I would like to put the question to Lena Emilsson and Fhm.
    Have bans ever caused the banned to disappear from the market?
    I don't think so, the state loses out.
    More sick people, less tax revenue, more (inspectors) police or government staff to be paid. Who is most affected, the people who pay taxes. And who benefits from it, the now criminal flavour profile ejuice maker?
    How much revenue do cigarettes and tobacco generate today, so that the health service can perhaps give them a little longer or perhaps a completely healthy life. This is reminiscent of the 1920-33 Prohibition era in the US when alcohol was banned. How did that work out?
    Increase in crime.
    There are plenty of such examples.
    Politicians, please look in the rear-view mirror and ask yourself what happened the last time we imposed a ban.
    Once again vejping with flavoured ejuices IS 95% less harmful than cigarettes. The studies are there. Open your eyes and take part. Do not follow the lobbyists in the EU Parliament in Brussels.
    Think of our Swedish patients suffering in the aftermath of cigarettes and tobacco.
    Thank you for the floor.
    Love to Stefan and Karl-Åke ❤

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