We need to talk about the flavour ban - what can YOU do now?

Postcards, emails, demonstrations, films, phone calls. Resistance to the government's flavour ban is in full swing. But what is the political situation? And what can you as a user do to influence politicians? Vejpkollen explains the concepts and gives some tips.

There are some threads on our forums about the flavour ban that the government wants to introduce in Sweden. I won't go into the details of what the ban means (read articles on this here) but nonetheless, it is important that we all pull in the same direction right now. This text is about the political situation and what YOU - yes, YOU - can do to influence the politicians who decide on the flavour ban.
Clue: it actually looks quite bright!

Lobby, lobby, lobby

But first things first. Lobbying takes time and costs money. So the first thing to do is:
To support lobbying! Because it works, beyond expectations!

Join the Association of Swedish vejpers (now part of NNA Sweden). Visit the website the flavour ban.se (read more below on what you need to know about the parties in Parliament before sending anything). And support Vejpkollen via Patreon.

The flavour ban has been planned for a long time

Via Vejpkollen, I have been monitoring the political approach to e-cigarettes for almost 3 years (first article about a Swedish flavour ban I actually wrote already in the autumn of 2019). In 2020 I interviewed all party representatives about their views on everything from flavourings to e-cig as a phenomenon and as a tool for smoking cessation. It became a series of articles in Vejpkollen. So it did not come as a shock when government investigation and the bill went down last year. The government (s) had planned it, in consultation with both the stakeholder organisations (lobby) and public health authority, long.

E-cigarettes on the agenda

But since the flavour ban became a concrete legislative proposal a lot has happened in the political arena. E-cigarettes have now become an issue that concerns the parties in parliament: they must now take a clear position on what they think about vejping and what e-cigarette use really means. During the autumn and spring, many individuals, the industry association BELC, the user association (FSV/NNA Sweden) and Vejpkollen have contacted politicians to raise the issue of e-cigarettes and the flavour ban.

They listen to US - too

Now we see the results.
Several parties are actually on our side in this, although they do so for different reasons. I see it in their follow-up motions where they react to the government's bill. I hear it when I interview them or just talk to them in other contexts. It is clear that several of them have actually listened to what we who vejpar and/or work with e-cigarettes have to say. They also listen to other groups, such as the snuffers and various interests in the nicotine industry, for example. But this is of course against a backdrop of other lobbying organisations pushing hard for the flavour ban to become a reality. It is a battle to be heard and seen. And you are both seen and heard. And you know what? Right now all we need is for one party, among those who are unsure, to say no. Then there will be no ban on flavours.

The current political situation

The political situation regarding the flavour ban is as follows (I'll add some tips on what YOU can do to influence each post):

The opposition that is against

Moderates, the Sweden Democrats and Centre are AGAINST the flavour ban. These are parties that want to see clear harm minimisation in tobacco policy. M and SD see e-cigs (along with snus and nicotine pouches) as a tool to reduce and minimise the harmful effects of nicotine use in Sweden. They therefore say "hands off" to the government's flavour ban. "We should encourage smokers to quit smoking and switch to less harmful nicotine products. For some, this could be e-cigarettes," the Moderates write.

The C party is basically of the same opinion, but they mainly base their criticism on the fact that the government has already promised to investigate the risks posed by flavours and e-cigs. They want to wait for that investigation before deciding on a possible ban. They also call for a proper impact assessment of a ban - will the black market and private imports render the flavour ban ineffective and actually make the situation worse?

What to do: Encourage M, SD and C to keep doing what they are doing - say thank you and cheer them on! Give them arguments. Point to independent research, especially that which shows that flavoured e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes are substitute products - that is, if one becomes less attractive, the attractiveness of the other increases. And vice versa. They can use this when arguing on risk day.

The opposition that is uncertain:

Christian Democrats are a bit wobbly (even if KD is leaning towards a no vote). KD also thinks that harm minimisation should be part of tobacco policy, just like the other centre-right parties. KD agrees with the others that we should differentiate between different nicotine products in terms of legislation. KD was also involved in demanding an investigation into the harmfulness of different nicotine products in relation to cigarettes and smoking.

What to do:  You should encourage KD to EXAMINE the issue more before taking a position on a ban - something that other opposition parties take for granted. Tell them your story - how you stopped smoking - tell them why different flavours work to keep you smoke-free. Ask them to find out more about vejping and harm reduction from a smoker's perspective.


Liberals have previously been inclined to say YES. At the moment, however, they are keeping a low profile on the flavour ban. This may be a tactic, a way of gaining room for manoeuvre in Parliament. BUT it may also be that the party is changing its mind about tobacco and harm reduction. Could it be that there is value in keeping e-cigarettes in society?

What should you do? Encourage Mr L to think about his position on the issue. Tell them about your journey from smoker to vejper. Tell us how you feel now, compared to when you smoked. Tell them that your choice of flavour was important for success. Ask L to at least investigate and get more information from consumers BEFORE passing a ban. It may also be worth mentioning that it may not be very liberal to categorically ban something as complicated as flavourings. They, if any, should stand up for free choice and a science-based policy when it comes to e-cigarettes.

The Left Party - what's going on?

The Left Party is (probably) FOR a ban on flavours. But they are not sure that it will work as intended. Will it really keep young people away from e-cigs? What is the risk of vejpers returning to smoking? V proposes that the government is studying the effects of a ban, two years after its possible implementation. This may sound strange, but it is true.

What to do: There are many indications that something has happened within the Left. In the past, the left has categorically condemned all nicotine products. Now they are a little worried that vejpare will return to smoking again if the ban is implemented. In other words, the Left Party has started CHANGE on e-cigarettes and harm reduction. Have they listened (a little) discreetly to us users? Maybe they have. In any case, things are moving in the right direction.

Nevertheless, V is still convinced that some flavours are only there to attract non-smokers and children. And that an age limit is not enough to solve the "problem". So more people need to contact V and tell their story, tell them about the importance of flavours, that bubblegum and mango actually appeal to you - an adult ex-smoker - and that the flavours actually keep you smoke-free. Tell us what you think! 

Ask them to investigate the consequences of a ban BEFORE and not after it is implemented (Compare with how S handles the drug issue - where all use is criminalised and users are so stigmatised that they do not dare to seek treatment - is that how V sees the future nicotine users?). Ask them to vote NO and instead find out more about your views as a user. And be nice! The left needs encouragement, not scolding 😉.

New website and more activism

Industries, users and Vejpkollen have worked together to develop a website: smakfobudet.se. There is good information on what the flavour ban means and also contact forms for our politicians.

A key to lobbying is organisation. The Swedish Vejpare organisation has recently become part of the NNA Sweden - an organisation that fights for harm reduction for smokers in several ways (snus, nicotine pouches, e-cigs - you name it). Vejpkollen has the ambition to help the association reach out to our politicians (letters and meetings with politicians have taken place during the spring). It is free to join NNA Sweden - voluntary membership fee for those who want to support and have the right to vote at the annual meeting. The chairman's name is Karl-Åke Johansson - vejpare for 10 years and known from Sweden's many vejp forums on Facebook.

And finally:

Please follow and support Vejpkollen.se - so this is the magazine I started 2019 and is still running partly with the aim of creating a relevant and clear interface between us users and our politicians. I have been monitoring vejpning and politics both in Sweden and the world for almost three years. I do this on a voluntary basis, with support via Patreon (thanks to everyone who pitches in every month). It has been worth every second of hard work - especially now that we are facing a severe flavour ban. Good relations with our politicians are more important than ever.
If you are not already doing so, you are welcome to join the Vejpkollens Patreon for £25+ a month 😉 It helps me a lot! 

Get out there and make a difference! You know you can!

Stefan Mathisson
Editor-in-chief and publisher

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