Swedish shops may no longer sell several products from Uwell, VooPoo, GeekVape or JoyeTech. This was decided after the Swedish Public Health Agency reviewed the range of products available in Swedish vape shops. The Chinese manufacturers have not paid the fees required by Swedish law. The products must now be re-registered - a process that takes six months.
"We will unfortunately not be able to offer products from Uwell, VooPoo, GeekVape or JoyeTec until the end of the year or early 2022". It says Niklas Linder, who runs Swedish Mixology, is one of several companies that will now be forced to severely limit their offerings after the Public Health Agency of Sweden began monitoring the supply of e-cigarettes on the Swedish market.
Not paid on time
Under Swedish law, based on the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), companies wishing to sell their products in Sweden must register them 6 months in advance with the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The authorisation for each individual product, whether it is a mod, tank or coil, is linked to a fee of SEK 3,000. Once it is paid, the waiting period of 6 months starts before the product becomes available for the shops. In the case of the companies mentioned above, the product registration itself has been done correctly. But they have not paid the fee on time.
"The products have not been 'failed' in any way and are still sold as usual in most EU countries. However, for Sweden in particular, the notification fee has not been paid, which has led to companies having to re-register the products in order to receive a new invoice," says Mr Perez. Niklas Linder.
As the stuffed products are among the most sold in Sweden, this is not only a problem for companies. Customers will also have difficulty finding consumables, such as coils and accessories for their tanks and kits. Niklas Linderlike many other companies, is now frantically searching for replacements. But it is not easy. Many other products currently registered with the authorities are at risk of being removed at short notice.
"The problem has been that we as retailers cannot see whether a product has been paid for or not. We only see that it is registered and of course assume that everything is ok. When the Swedish Public Health Agency reviewed their own list, they discovered that several companies had registered many products, but had not paid for them. Then they suddenly disappeared from the list," says Mr Muller. Niklas Linder.
Have to wait six months
After several retailers brought the situation to the attention of the Chinese companies in question, the products have been re-registered and the fees have started to roll in. But this does not help at the moment.
"The Swedish Public Health Agency considers that even if the product was previously registered, it is 6 months from the last registration that applies before the product can be sold again" says Niklas Linder.
A system for tobacco products - not e-cigs
Niklas Linder, who is also the chairman of the The trade organisation for electronic cigarettes (BELC) regrets that the situation has arisen at all. In his view, it is a clear sign that the system of registrations and fees is not adapted to the nature of the market and its players.
"The system is entirely based on the same model as for cigarettes and tobacco. Where large companies are responsible for manufacturing and distribution, registration and control of sales volumes," says Mr Perez. Niklas Linder
Under the unconventional model, distribution companies are supposed to ensure that all adaptation is smooth: from registration to statistical monitoring, manuals and labelling according to local regulations.
However, this is not how it works in reality.
Road users confuse lawmakers
In Sweden, which is a rather small market, there is no single major distributor of weighing products. Small independent shops are often responsible for imports, local adaptations and direct sales. For example, products are often relabelled in stores to meet the requirements for consumer information in Swedish. This results in a wider range of products, but it is borderline illegal when neither the vendors, nor the public health authorities, know which products can be sold or how they need to be adapted to fulfil the requirements of the authorities. And it has also confused legislators, according to the report. Niklas Linder.
"Politicians are probably surprised that the weed industry does not work like the tobacco industry. Many don't even realise that the two industries work in different ways or that the vaping industry is not really connected to the tobacco industry," says the Commissioner. Niklas Linder.
Favouring large companies
There is no direct hope of changing the system, and that is not the goal either, according to Niklas Linder.
"Politicians in the EU, and Sweden, are not in favour of the way our industry works, nor are the big tobacco companies. They would like to see the whole industry centralised, much like tobacco, where a handful of players are responsible for virtually all production and sales worldwide," says Niklas Linder.
New updated product list published
There are currently around 40 micro to medium-sized companies operating in the Swedish e-cigarette market. The industry organisation for electronic cigarettes currently organises one third of the larger Swedish companies.
The Swedish Public Health Agency has recently updated the Swedish list of authorised vaping products. In the future, only products that are paid for will be on the list and not those that are only registered. Niklas Linder urges all Swedish companies to review their product ranges carefully to avoid problems in the future.