They don't care if you die - and smokers are not worth saving

This text is addressed to all vejpers in Sweden. No, it is addressed to all vejpers AND smokers in Sweden. I'm angry right now. But it will be fine. "Anger is a gift" or what was it? It's time to stand on the barricades and fight to save lives. Now is the time!

This is a debating article. The opinions are those of the named writer. Comment or contact editorial staff if you want to answer!

Government proposal to ban flavours in e-cigarettes now on the table on the parliamentary table. All e-cigarettes and e-liquids will have to taste like 'tobacco' from 2023. This is not really news. Vejpkollen has written about it on several occasions in recent years. But it does not matter. It's only now that the government's plans are to start winding their way through the political space.

"Tobacco flavour is enough - they are used to it"

There is bound to be negotiation, horse-trading and swapping of political posts here and there. The proposal may well go through, even if the opposition generally seems to be against a flavour ban. But:
"What do fruit flavours mean to a smoker? What adult wants to replace a cigarette with sweet strawberry flavour? Tobacco flavour is quite enough, they are used to it, these smokers."
I've heard far too many politicians reasoning in this way to feel reassured.

Clean syringes and e-cigarettes

But a taste ban is about so much more than just flavours. It is about dignity and human rights. Just as drug users should have access to clean syringes, smokers should have access to harm-minimising alternatives. E-cigarettes must taste good - otherwise cigarettes are more attractive.
Why is it so hard to understand?

But the government writes:

"The reasons for introducing a flavour ban, and in particular the need to protect children and young people, outweigh the risk that, as several commentators point out, as a result of the flavour ban, some e-cigarette users will choose to return to smoking or that fewer smokers will switch to e-cigarettes."

You do realise what our elected social democratic politicians mean, don't you? They don't even try to sugarcoat it.

Smokers may die - for the sake of children

The government believes that YOU are not worth protecting. YOU - smoker or ex-smoker - are not WORTH saving. It's as simple as that. For the sake of the children?

So the risks of a teenager partying with a stolen e-cig once a month would be GREATER than the risks of an adult continuing to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, instead of switching to e-cigarettes? Yes, that's exactly what our government is saying. So it doesn't matter if the smoker is the teenager's mum or dad. Or grandma, grandma, aunt, uncle. The smoker (de-normalised and appropriately stigmatised) is not worth protecting. For the sake of the children? It's enough to make you afraid of the dark. It's a deadly policy, really.

Relative risks are real, government

People talk about risk as if it were something absolute, as if risks were not relative. But risks are BY DEFINITION relative. It is more dangerous to drive a car without a seatbelt than to drive a car with a seatbelt. The risk of dying from cancer is GREATER if you eat three bags of crisps a day than if you eat one bag of crisps a week (acrylamide, you know, it's carcinogenic).

Smoking is astronomically more dangerous than vejpa. It is also extremely more dangerous if a teenager parties with a packet of cigarettesthan if they were partying with a disposable e-cig.

But "So what" says the government.

I'd rather you smoked

The government, by all means, also thinks that e-cigarettes are a better alternative than cigarettes - even if it seems to take some offence. You can't argue with science, or your own research for that matter. Neither nicotine nor flavourings pose any real lethal risks, the government says. But that doesn't matter. Ultimately, the government simply doesn't WANT e-cigarettes to attract more smokers. They WANT to make viable alternatives to cigarettes less attractive. E-cigs MUST not taste good. They would rather people keep smoking. For the sake of the children. The consequences of government policy are, quite deliberately, that more smokers will die.

Or to put it angrily (because I'm angry now): The government thinks it's perfectly OK for YOU - yes, YOU - to die. You are worth sacrificing.

Does any sane politician really think this is ok?

This is everyone's fight - not just vejparnas

It's time we stood up and showed who we are! It's about saving lives. Not just our own, but the life of every smoker - all the mums, dads, grandmothers, great-grandmothers whose lives could be extended if they just switched from cigarettes to e-cigarettes. All of them teenagers who would otherwise be trapped in the scourge of smoking if it weren't for that awful "vejpen".
Everyone who is in any way at risk of dying because of smoking - this is your fight too.

Smoke-free and pride

We as vejpar know what it's all about.
We moved away from cigarettes using blueberry flavours, vanilla flavours, dragon fruits.
We, who were not worth a damn as smokers, found our way back to pride and freedom from smoking with the help of e-cigarettes.
We will not be swept under the carpet again.
The government is threatening our lives, our health.
It is wrong and we will show it. We are thousands.
Expect us.

Cancer, Stroke and COPD, Minister

Although I have known that our Minister for Health and Social Services, fuelled by well-funded lobby groups, has wanted to ban flavours in e-cigarettes for over two years, today comes as a bit of a shock. I have been thinking, or perhaps hoping, that a minister, a cancer survivor herself, would realise how crazy this policy really is. That e-cigarettes are substitutes for cigarettes. That e-cigarettes are the way out of just cancer, stroke, COPD and all the other diseases that follow in the wake of smoking. 

But no. Has she lost her mind completely, or are lobbyists from a more or less obstinate prohibitionist lobby whispering in her ear?

I hope that's the case, actually. I hope this isn't coming from her heart - because it's really bad in there.

Now begins a period of struggle.

I will fight for our flavours, because I KNOW they SAVE LIVES. I urge ALL vejpers, their families, friends, workmates, to do the same.

We must stop the flavour ban.

We have until 31 May.

Stefan Mathisson
Editor-in-chief and publisher

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2 Comments on “De bryr sig inte om du dör – och rökare är inte värda att rädda

  1. Is there a public consultation period, survey or anything? Or do you have to beg Riksdag reps for audience and getting heard?

    Do the proposals indicate that they recognise that it's *artificial* and *synthetic* "tobacco flavours" that are to be *added*?

    Would it make sense to refine the terminology then, like pointing out those are "dual use" or "relapse" and "tobacco accustomisation" flavours? (You know, sometimes helps to return the FUD. Instead of playing into the "flavour ban" framing.)

    1. Hello Mario! Yes, there has been a consultation period since the first draft dropped in September 2021. And yes, the vaping community (along with businesses) are working hard to get audiences with the right politicians to address the issue. But as always, vapers are a smaĺl group and without consistent financial back up, there wont be any consistent lobbying either from a business perspective or from a consumers perspective. Its an up hill battle, always. On the other hand - snus is a thing in Sweden - and it's a flavoured tobacco product. So they actually do a lot for vapers right now, by opposing this ban (1 million users...)

      Regarding the scope of the ban: They hold a very loose definition of what an e-liquid actually is (since they really don't know, lol). They do not specify any particular flavour to be banned since the intention is to ban EVERY flavouring except those that "has a scent and taste of tobacco". So if the "naturally extracted lemon bubblegum swirl" concentrate makes the e-liquid actually taste like tobacco (whatever THAT is) it's ok. But every separate e-liquid needs to pass the government controller via inspection (not clear how this is supposed to work - it is going to be hilarious - thank heaven I'm a reporter - this will make for great stories, lol)
      E-liquid without any flavouring or additive is ok - meaning it consists of the basic ingredients needed to "use it" in an electronic cigarette. That would be glycerin and propylene glycol (and nicotine). Flavour concentrates will NOT fall under this juristiction, at least as I interpret it right now.

      The problem with laws like this are that the definitions really ever matters until someone actually challenges them. By then the law starts to entangle itself and become weird, full of loopholes and basically to hard to interpret. Hopefully some clever politician will point this out BEFORE the voting takes place (if we get get to them, that is) 31 may is the informal vote - 16 june is the formal vote

      Mr Stefan
      Editor-in-chief - Vejpkollen

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