More expensive e-juice and less hardware - higher fees threaten supply

Reduced supply and significantly higher prices for hardware and pre-mixed e-juice. This is what Swedish vejp users can expect in the future. The reason is that the Swedish Public Health Agency wants to increase the fees for registering products in Sweden. By 350 per cent.

Public health authorities wants to increase the fees for registering vejp products in Sweden. And this is not a small increase. In a request to the Parliament, the authority proposes to increase the fee from SEK 3,000 to SEK 10,500 per product.

"This is a 350 per cent increase and it will effectively reduce the number of products that can be sold in Sweden. The price of the ones that remain will of course be much higher" says Niklas Linder who runs the vejp company Swedish Mixology in Motala and is active in the Electronic Cigarette Industry Organisation (BELC).

"E-cigs are not like cigarettes"

Under the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), basically every component of an electronic cigarette has to be registered in the country where it will be sold. This must be done at least 6 months before sales begin. Finished e-juice with nicotine must also be registered, as well as single-use models, known as disposables. The notification is usually made by the company that manufactures or distributes the products.

To manage the registrations, the authority concerned, in Sweden's case the Public Health Agency of Sweden, may charge a fee to cover the costs. The fee will cover the handling of a notification, documentation, control and other bureaucratic tasks.

"The registration system is based on the same model as for tobacco products. This involves a few products, a cigarette, a variant of rolling tobacco and so on. Registration usually takes place via a large distribution company and certainly works well for tobacco. But e-cigs are not like cigarettes. Each individual e-cigarette model may need between 3 and 10 registrations to work as intended", says Niklas Linder.

75 000 SEK for a starter kit

The management of vejp products has turned out to be more costly than expected. Companies currently pay SEK 3000 per registration. A simple pod system, consisting of a tank and a battery, currently costs SEK 6,000 to register. A more advanced system, a beginner's kit with a separate and fillable tank, battery and five different variants of evaporators (coils), 7 products in total, currently costs SEK 21,000 to register. 

If the Swedish Public Health Agency gets its way, the cost of a pod system will increase to SEK 20 000. For a more advanced beginner's kit, the cost will be closer to SEK 75,000. The same applies to e-liquid that is pre-mixed with nicotine. A TPD-registered e-juice line often contains up to 20 different flavours and nicotine strengths. Each flavour and nicotine strength must be registered separately.

Not worth it for companies

According to Niklas Linder, the increase will ultimately affect both Swedish businesses and customers.

"Sweden is a small market. There are hardly too many Chinese tech giants and we should not expect companies to be more interested in registering their products here if the cost is higher. Retailers will have access to a very limited range of products, which will probably lead to fewer customers finding the system they need to quit smoking. This will obviously have a negative impact on both companies and customers", says Mr. K. Niklas Linder.

"A thief's trick on consumers and shops"

He is joined by Karl-Åke Johansson, President of the Consumers' Association NNA Sweden. Karl-Åke Johansson sees a bleak future, for the Swedes who vejpar today but also for the smokers who could stop smoking, with the help of e-cigarettes.

"The supply in our vejp shops will be greatly reduced. Those vejpers who know how to do it will import directly from China instead, as they had to do 10 years ago. But for beginners, and smokers who want to try e-cigarettes, it will be much harder to find the right products. This is a kind of poaching by the Swedish Public Health Agency that will kill many vejpshoppers and thus prevent more smokers from choosing e-cigarettes over smoking" says Karl Åke Johansson.

Cheaper if more people paid

According to the Public Health Agency's request, which is part of the bill "Stricter rules for new nicotine products", the increase is justified by the fact that the labour input per registration is high, while the number of registered and paid products is relatively small. Of the products notified in Sweden, foreign companies have in practice only paid fees for 16 per cent of the registrations.

"If this proportion had been higher, the fee could have been set at a lower level. The increase will mainly burden foreign companies, as this group is in the majority and has more products available on the Swedish market than the other companies," writes the Public Health Agency in its request.

Decisions in the Parliament

Parliament will vote on the bill "Tougher rules for new nicotine products" on 21 June. The Social Affairs Committee will prepare the matter until 14 June. The bill also includes a proposal to e-liquid flavour ban and new rules for nicotine pouches. Vejpkollen has collected articles on it. proposed Swedish flavour ban here.

Sources for this article:
Petition: modification of fees for tobacco products and electronic cigarettes and refill containers

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