Swedish politicians: "Good if e-cigarettes reduce smoking"

Are e-cigarettes a wise alternative to cigarettes? Vejpkollen asked this question to all parties in Parliament. 
"If you can stop smoking with e-cigarettes, that's a good thing," says Lena Emilsson (S&D).

- NOTE: Since Vejpkollen published the article, the Swedish government has announced that it will ban flavourings in the e-liquid.

Contact Lena Hallengren.
To all road users: Do you want to keep a variety of flavours in your e-juice? Email the Social Affairs Minister and tell him why flavours are important! Click on the banner and follow the instructions.

'In total, just under two per cent of the Swedish population have used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, of which one third have done so daily. This was most common among men and the 17-29 age group. It was also significantly more common to have used e-cigarettes among those who are regular cigarette smokers."

Then he writes Central Association for Information on Alcohol and Drugs (CAN).in its report on how Swedes use e-cigarettes. 200,000 Swedes say they use e-cigs. One third, i.e. around 70 000 Swedes, use e-cigarettes daily. Daily use suggests that e-cigarettes are replacing tobacco use - at least in part.

In light of this, Vejpkollen wanted to know what Swedish politicians think about e-cigarettes and how they view vaping as a method of quitting smoking.

S: "Important to reduce the number of smokers"

Lena Emilsson, The Social Democrats' spokesperson on tobacco issues has a restrictive view on vaping and e-cigarettes. At the same time, she sees some positive aspects.

"It's important to reduce the number of smokers because tobacco smoking causes so much harm. If you can stop smoking tobacco with the help of e-cigarettes, that's good. But you should preferably not use e-cigarettes either, from a health point of view. " she tells Vejpkollen.

"Important to break the habit"

Lena Emilsson argues that traditional stop-smoking methods have advantages over e-cigarettes. As she sees it, it is the habit that needs to be broken, as much as the nicotine addiction.

"The best thing is to stop smoking without switching to any other tool that reminds you of smoking. If you can't do that, the e-cigarette has a function. But quitting smoking is about breaking all smoking habits as well. The disadvantage as I see it is that e-cigarettes are so reminiscent of smoking. Therefore, I believe more in patches or chewing gum", she says to Vejpkollen.

"More research"

She is joined by Karin Rågsjö, member for the Left Party in the Social Affairs Committee. 

"We should first of all look at whether it works to stop smoking. I'm worried that it will become a snuggle blanket instead. And we need more research. We don't want to propose something that turns out to be dangerous," she tells Vejpkollen.

The same experience as a cigarette

According to the research institute Cochrane it is precisely the similarities in experience that have shown e-cigarettes to work better than traditional nicotine medicines for smokers. In a 2020 report a systematic review of smoking cessation studies shows that e-cigarettes are twice as effective as patches and gum.

"Unlike gum and patches, e-cigarettes give smokers an experience similar to that of a cigarette. They get the nicotine, and at the same time the feeling of smoking, without exposing themselves or their surroundings to cigarette smoke," writes the report. the researchers in the report.

KD: Risk of smokers using both

Michael Anefur, spokesperson for the Christian Democrats on tobacco and alcohol issues, has a cautiously positive view of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation method. But he also sees risks with the method.

"If it is the case that e-cigs replace regular tobacco smoking, it is good, provided that e-cigs are less dangerous. However, there is probably the same risk as with replacing smoking with snus, that is, for a number of people it ends up with both smoking and snus," he says to Vejpkollen.

Research: Dual use can be positive

Dual use in particular has sparked debate among researchers in recent years. The question is whether smokers who also use e-cigarettes are ingesting more harmful substances than before. A study from the US suggested that the risk of stroke increased due to dual use. However, this turned out not to be the case and the study was withdrawn due to an uncertain analysis as a result of insufficient data. Meanwhile, subsequent research shows that a dual use can bring benefits for public health in general. Smokers who use e-cigarettes alongside cigarettes are more likely to quit smoking, over time.

Different views on e-cigarettes

UK authorities are actively advising smokers to switch to e-cigarettes. Public Health Agency of Sweden However, it does not. And it is something that governs The Centre Party view on the issue.

"There are several proven, safe and effective methods for smoking cessation recommended by the Public Health Agency of Sweden. However, e-cigarettes are not recommended for smoking cessation in Sweden. These recommendations are a matter for expert authorities, not for politicians," says the Centre Party press spokesperson. Amanda Florin to Vejpkollen.

SD: Focus on nicotine cessation

The Sweden Democrats' Christina Östberg, an SD member of the Social Affairs Committee, says the focus should be on nicotine addiction.

"There is much to be gained if people quit smoking, both in terms of health and economy. But we would rather see measures that fully focus on cessation support or measures that lead to the complete elimination of nicotine addiction," she told Vejpkollen.

Vejpkollen never received an answer from the Green Party and the Liberals on how they view e-cigarettes as smoking cessation. However, these parties have responded to similar questions in the Parliament. Read more about this here!

Moderates answers in a individual article here.

Read more about e-cigarettes and Swedish politics here:
Swedish politicians believe in banning flavours in e-juice
Flavour ban: "An extremely high price to pay for a gut feeling"

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