The social affairs committee does not want to ban flavours in e-cigarettes. Instead, it wants to make it a criminal offence to sell nicotine products to minors. This is clear after the Social Affairs Committee submitted its report on the government proposal "Tougher rules for new nicotine products".
"This is very encouraging news. But I will not be satisfied until the votes in the parliament are counted" says Karl-Åke Johansson, chairman of NNA Sweden.
No to a ban on flavours for e-cigarettes and e-liquid. But yes to new rules for nicotine pouches and criminal liability for the sale of nicotine products to minors. This is the message from the Social Affairs Committee ahead of the vote on the bill "Tougher rules for new nicotine products".
"Things are looking bright for us vejpare; if the politicians in the parliament listen to their representatives, we can keep our flavours. At the same time, I'm not completely calm until the vote in the parliament is complete" says Karl Åke Johansson, chairman of the organisation. NNA Sweden - an association that organises users of e-cigarettes, snus and nicotine pouches in Sweden.
Nicotine pouches and flavour bans
Health politicians in the Social Affairs Committee have discussed the government proposal "Tougher rules for new nicotine products" during most of May and June. The discussions have mainly focused on a new regulatory framework for nicotine pouches, but also the flavours in e-cigarettes. For e-cigarettes, the government has proposed a comprehensive flavour ban, which would have major consequences for both users and companies in Sweden.
"Flavours are key for those of us who use e-cigs to stay away from smoking" says Karl-Åke Johansson. "And to allow, as the government proposes, only tobacco flavours is the same as forcing sober alcoholics to drink water that tastes like vodka."
No to flavour ban
However, the result was not quite what the government had hoped for. Although large parts of the bill were given the green light by the Social Affairs Committee (i.e. the rules for nicotine pouches), they want to delete the section stating that e-cigarettes and e-liquid should only be allowed to "smell and taste like tobacco".
"We want a harm minimisation perspective in tobacco policy. Restricting flavours in an alternative product, which may reduce the number of smokers, is not in line with this" says Johan Hultberg (m) to Vejpkollen in connection with the committee's report.
Anti-trafficking law instead
The reason for a flavour ban would be to prevent minors from trying e-cigarettes. At the same time, the government notes different flavours attracts adult smokers to switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes. And this is something that a majority of the Social Affairs Committee sees as positive. Instead of a sweeping ban, the Social Affairs Committee therefore wants to investigate other possibilities for reduce the use of among young people.
"The government should review the issue of making it a criminal offence for private individuals to transfer or sell tobacco and nicotine products to persons under the age of 18," writes the Social Affairs Committee in its report. report.
"Can curb the black market"
At present, only shops and employed vendors are penalised for selling to minors. At the same time, nearly 35 per cent of the country's secondary school students ever tried an e-cigarette. Karl-Åke Johansson and NNA Sweden believe that stricter legislation with a clear penalty scale is a more effective way than a flavour ban to address this particular problem.
"We think this is very good. A law against retail sales is one way to curb the huge black market of illegally imported disposable e-cigarettes that has flourished in recent years. These sales are exclusively aimed at young people and minors. Of course, a ban on flavours will not affect those who already sell illegally, but making it a criminal offence could certainly do so," says Karl-Åke Johansson.
'Good to regulate nicotine pouches'
He is also in favour of the comprehensive regulatory framework for nicotine pouches, products that have become a popular option for smokers trying to quit.
"Nicotine pouches will now be on an equal footing with other nicotine products and fall under the same 18-year age limit and product control. We think this is positive. We are also pleased that those who use nicotine pouches as a tool to get away from cigarettes can continue to do so in the future, in the same way as today."
No licences for e-cigarettes
At the same time, Karl-Åke Johansson lacks what he calls in-depth measures to control the market for e-cigarettes in Sweden. Several consultation bodies, including NNA Sweden, called for some form of licence to sell e-cigarettes and e-liquid.
"It would open the door for a more serious discussion about vaping and smoking cessation in Sweden. Vejpshopparna and its staff have enormous knowledge about how a smoker can switch from smoking to vaping. A licence would give their business more legitimacy and at the same time reduce the number of rogue operators in the market," says Karl Åke Johansson.
Flavour ban voted down
Since the seats in the Social Affairs Committee are distributed in the same way as in the Riksdag, the Riksdag will probably vote in accordance with the committee's report. The Social Democrats, Green Party and Left Party have entered a reservation against parts of the report, including the ban on flavours, but this is not enough to get a majority in the Parliament.
"It is unlikely that it will be different from what the social committee wants, but I am by nature worried anyway. So before the votes in the parliament are counted, I am not completely calm" says Karl Åke Johansson to Vejpkollen.
On 21 June, the Parliament will debate and decide on the proposal "Tougher rules for new nicotine products".