Moderates reject government's flavour ban

Arbitrary, harmful to public health and unjustified. The Moderates firmly reject the government's proposal for a flavour ban on e-cigarettes. 
"It is important to protect alternative products that can make it easier for more smokers to quit smoking," write the Moderates in a motion to the Riksdag.

The debate on a possible flavour ban on e-cigarettes and e-liquids has now gained momentum among the parties in the Parliament. A total of five motions have been submitted to the discussions and the Social Affairs Committee, which will now prepare the matter. And it is mainly critical views that set the tone. The Moderates believe that a ban on flavours is contrary to Parliament's objective of minimising harm in tobacco and nicotine policy.

"More concrete measures are needed to prevent people from getting sick or dying from smoking. At the same time, individuals themselves are responsible for their decision to smoke. It is important to protect alternative products that can make it easier and simpler for more smokers to quit smoking," the Moderate Party writes in a statement. motion to the Parliament.

Goes against parliamentary decision on harm minimisation

The Moderate Party believes that the flavour ban is contrary to the direction of tobacco and nicotine policy decided by the Riksdag last year. The government's so-called ANDTS strategy was voted down at the same time as Parliament decided to introduce a harm minimisation perspective in the ANDTS strategy.

"The Government should have drafted this bill in accordance with the Parliament's earlier decision. The Riksdag believes that we should take into account the varying harmful effects that different tobacco and nicotine products can cause. Introducing a flavour ban for e-cigarettes is contrary to this approach," the Moderates write.

"Prevents development and innovation"

The government wants all flavoured e-liquids "that do not give off a smell and taste of tobacco" should be banned from sale in Sweden. According to the government, such a ban would greatly reduce the attractiveness of e-cigarettes, with the aim of preventing young people from being attracted to the products. At the same time, the government recognises that the ban will also lead to fewer adult smokers choosing e-cigarettes over smoking.

"There is a risk that a flavour and fragrance ban will prevent development and innovation in an area that could reduce the number of smokers. It is important that people who use smoking tobacco continue to have access to alternatives to traditional cigarettes that help them quit smoking. For some, this could be e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are not a healthy product and should continue to be regulated, but not through an arbitrary ban on flavours. " writes the Moderates.

Few young non-smokers use e-cigarettes

According to the Moderates, a sweeping ban is also not justified by the risk of young people starting to use e-cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is extremely limited in Swedish society, according to the Moderates. According to a survey by CAN in 2020, only one per cent of the population aged 17-84 had used e-cigarettes at some point in the last month. About half of these, i.e. just under half a per cent, were daily users according to CAN. Smokers of traditional cigarettes were more likely to have also used e-cigarettes (4 per cent), compared with those who did not smoke traditional cigarettes (1 per cent). 

"It can therefore be concluded that e-cigarettes and e-liquids, despite being flavoured, do not appear to be a product with particularly strong appeal. At least not for people who are not or have not been traditional smokers. A flavour ban, which is a very far-reaching regulation, cannot therefore be justified to reduce the attractiveness of e-cigarettes for non-smokers. " writes the Moderates.

Subjective about what will be allowed

The lack of clarity in the bill has also been criticised by the Moderates. According to the party, both manufacturers and inspection bodies will have to work with subjective judgements in order to apply the restrictions.

"The flavour ban would create a complicated process for the authorised body to assess which flavours and fragrances are allowed or prohibited. This would risk creating an extremely difficult situation for manufacturers and importers and continuous uncertainty about which additives and flavours are allowed. In practice, a completely unreasonable amount of responsibility would be placed on individual government officials to determine the application of the legislation. We find it impossible for the Parliament to accept such a proposal." writes the Moderates.

Welcomes concrete measures

When the government presented its new ANDTS strategy, it gave the National Board of Health and Welfare, in co-operation with the Public Health Agency of Sweden and SBU, the task of investigating the relative risks of different nicotine products. In line with Parliament's decision, the Government also wants to build a national competence centre to deal with issues relating to alcohol, narcotics, doping, tobacco and gambling. This is something the Moderates welcome.

"The Government should urgently implement the Parliament's decision. Through a national competence centre, preventive work could be significantly strengthened and quality assured. This could really make a difference to public health." write the Moderates.

Motion: In connection with Bill 2021/22:200 Tougher rules for new nicotine productsMotion 2021/22:4652 by Camilla Waltersson Grönvall and others (M).

The government's proposal:
Tougher rules for new nicotine products - Proposal 2021/22:200

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