2022 elections: parties' positions on e-cigarettes, snus and nicotine

The 2022 elections. How do the parties view harm minimisation, e-cigarettes and measures and policies that promote less harmful alternatives to smoking? Who should you vote for? Vejpkollen analyses.

With a few days to go before the elections, the e-cig and harm minimisation are at the top of the agenda in the debates. However, the composition of the Parliament naturally affects how issues and proposals affecting e-cigarette users are ultimately handled. In this analysis, Vejpkollen examines the parties' positions on the issue of e-cigarettes. harm minimisation - a central topic for everything related to e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool - but also applies to snus and other smokeless nicotine products.

Rating by commitment and interest

Vejpkollen assigns ratings based on what the parties have done and said on the issue of harm minimisation during the years the magazine has covered the issue (2019-2022). The parties have made the clearest statements on harm minimisation when it came to the proposed flavour ban for e-cigarettes in the spring of 2022. But even before that, the issue has been discussed in the Parliament and in Vejpkollens examinations. Just as important as the policies themselves, is how the parties' representatives have handled the relationship with users and other stakeholders over the years. For users, this is a key issue - and therefore worth including in the rating. 

Take your time and then choose with your head and heart.

Moderates (m)

The Moderate Party has become a driving force in making harm reduction part of tobacco policy. The party has repeatedly argued in favour of an evidence-based policy on the harmful effects of nicotine, and has rallied the Swedish Parliament behind a reform of the so-called tobacco control law. The ANDTS strategy. The party was at the forefront of those who wanted to stop the government's ban on flavours.

"We would prefer to see a kind of risk ladder for nicotine products in the future. There should be a difference in how we deal with snus, e-cigarettes and cigarettes in the legislation. "The important thing is that we focus on the harmful effects of smoking and how we can reduce them. For example, we should not chase snus users and vejp users when we know that smoking is the problem. The Moderate Party has long worked for this and now the Parliament has also decided that the scientific basis for a new harm-minimising policy will be investigated," he says. Johan Hultberg (m) spokesperson on health issues to Vejpkollen.

In addition, the Moderates have been open to talking to both users other stakeholders on issues such as smoke damage minimisation. This guarantees (pun intended) a brighter future for vejpningen in Sweden, at least until now.

Review: (M) stands for harm minimisation and is also driving the issue

Passed - with a gold star

Social Democrats (s)

The Socialist government tabled the much talked about proposal to ban flavourings in liquids at the beginning of 2022. They made it clear that they regard the e-cigarettes, as well as snus and nicotine pouchesas equivalent to cigarettes. Harm minimisation is seen as a "fabrication of the tobacco industry", according to the party's representatives. Minister of Social Affairs Lena Hallengren has on several occasions raised proposals and taken rhetorical cues directly from political lobbying organisations such as Tobacco Facts, A Non Smoking Generation and also American Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, to push for tougher legislation on e-cigarettes.

"By flavouring e-cigarettes with various candy and fruit flavours, tobacco companies are luring children and young people into a nicotine addiction. This must stop." wrote Lena Hallengren on Facebook in 2021.

It is clear that (s) currently do not want to deal with harm minimisation in the tobacco and nicotine area at all. They have a similar approach to risk reduction in drug policy and many other areas. Zero tolerance is the watchword for the party's representatives in the Social Affairs Committee, Yasmine Bladelius, also called the 3000 Swedish e-cigarette userswho contacted the Social Affairs Committee ahead of the vote on the flavour ban, for "fake votes" and that they "are not real people". In his bill "Tougher rules for new nicotine products" It also said that while e-cigarettes may help some people quit smoking, it doesn't matter as long as there is a risk of children chewing1TP9. This was the basis for the flavour ban - a proposal that was already being drafted in 2020.

According to a survey conducted by The Snus Commission (s) is currently waiting for a study to evaluate the research before taking a further position on harm minimisation. 

"Our assessment is that there is a need for further information on the state of knowledge regarding the harmful effects and health impacts of various tobacco and nicotine products. Such information is currently being produced, and we are awaiting the results of this work before we are prepared to take a position on further measures." writes (s) to the Snus Commission.

It is always something, but unfortunately not enough for a passing grade: a vote for (s) is not a vote for harm minimisation.

Failed - with a slap on the wrist

Centre Party (c)

The Centre Party is basically liberal. But at present, the Centre Party is leaning towards supporting a social democratic government. But this does not mean that the Centre Party can have some influence on tobacco and nicotine policy. 

The Centre Party has a strong passion for snus. And with it comes a pretty solid attitude towards harm minimisation. This was clearly evident when the party took a strong stance against the flavour ban for e-cigarettesAlthough some party representatives are not entirely convinced that e-cigarettes have a natural place in the fight against smoking-related harm, the more liberal approach to nicotine products seems to be winning in the long run.

Having said that. The party's members work closely with (s) on many issues and it is difficult to know whether (c) will back down on harm minimisation in tobacco policy, especially if (s) pushes for it in the Social Affairs Committee. On the other hand: it is a two-edged sword that can lead to the opposite as well.

Vejpkollen has also noticed that the Centre Party's youth federation is taking a clearer line on more liberal laws than its parent party. The legalisation of cannabis, the abolition of the smoking ban on outdoor cafes and a chairman who openly raises the issue for debate make for an interesting development. Youth Chair Reka Tolnai is open to discussions with both companies and users. She has also criticised the government-backed Non Smoking Generation for undemocratic practices after the organisation threatened politicians to avoid meeting a well-known tobacco company to talk about harm reduction.

The Centre Party is clear for damage minimisation, which suggests a positive assessment. But much depends on the election results and the party's role in parliament. Anyone who wants to see a left-centre government If you want to live a little on the hope of damage minimisation, you can cast a vote for C and give the party the opportunity to influence S, V and MP on the issue. The more votes C has, the more influence, of course. But don't hope for too much.

Authorised - with modification

Left Party (v)

The Left Party does not give much weight to harm minimisation to tackle the problems of smoking. At least not on the surface. The party wanted to see a flavour ban on e-cigarettes - albeit with the caveat to closely monitor developments.

"Because if it leads to more smokers, it's not good," said the report. the response to the motion. 

However, Mr V admitted that e-cigarettes do help some people quit smoking. And that's a positive attitude, even if it didn't matter in the plenary when it really mattered.

However, the left is driving harm reduction in drug policy, which often opens the door to conflict with (s). Hopefully this can also lead to insights into what harm minimisation means, also for nicotine users and smokers. It should also be mentioned that party leaders Nooshi Dagdostar is actually vejpare and that the party's members have actually chosen to actively listen to the users and stakeholders.

However, a vote in favour of V on Sunday is in practice the same as a vote in favour of (s). And V would rather vote down proposals that favour harm minimisation, especially if it means stopping proposals from (m) or (sd).

The Left Party is not a wise choice for those who want to see more harm minimisation and a more secure future for vejpningen in Sweden. Not in this election anyway. And certainly not as long as the V cooperates with the S and MP.

Fail - with possibility of reassessment

Christian Democrats (kd)

KD believes that harm minimisation should be part of tobacco policy. They voted, after some hesitation and persuasion, no to the flavour ban. KD's representatives have also on other occasions wanted to see a clear difference in price between cigarettes and snus, which shows that the harm minimisation perspective plays a role in the party's view of tobacco and nicotine. 

In addition, KD politicians are pushing the issue of harm reduction in the EU Parliament. MEP Sara Skytterdal holds the flag high for Swedish snus and also often talks about e-cigarettes as important tools to reduce the harm caused by tobacco smoking.

KD takes the same line as (m) when it comes to harm minimisation. It is a little unclear whether they support e-cigarettes as much as snus, but they still have a clear political stance on the issue. So yes, KD probably deserves a vote, albeit a little uncertain.

Approved - with some hesitation

Sweden Democrats (sd)

SD, together with the Moderates, has been the party that has pushed the issue of evidence-based harm minimisation the hardest. When the flavour ban was on the table, SD was clear and based its "no" on evidence and references to major British studies. The party also had a clear consumer perspective both in its response to the motion and the subsequent debate in the plenary hall.

"Many of my friends and family members use e-cigarettes to quit smoking. And I hear this a lot when I talk to people I meet," replied Mr Perez. Clara Aranda (sd) when Yasmine Bladelius (s) accused the opposition of being influenced by the "e-cigarette industry" on the flavour ban.

In the past, big names like Martin Kinnunenvejpare himself, stood in the plenary hall and argued in favour of a more moderate taxation of e-liquid and nicotine.

With a positive attitude towards harm minimisation and obvious knowledge about e-cigarettes, SD becomes a strong voice for vejpning and other alternative nicotine products. Moreover, they enter the elections as part of the coalition: m, kd (and liberals), parties aiming to introduce a harm minimisation perspective in tobacco policy.

Approved with two pluses

Green Party (mp)

MPs have kept quiet on the issue of harm minimisation ever since substitute MEP Nicklas Attefjord Attefjord remained cautiously sceptical about both snus and e-cigarettes, but chose to listen to what both sides had to say. entrepreneurs and consumers had to say on the matter. But that was some time ago and the party's official position was finally to support the government's flavour ban in parliament. When asked by the Snus Commission about their position on harm minimisation, the party referred to the recommendations of the Swedish Public Health Agency. The Swedish Public Health Agency has publicly stated that it regards tobacco harm minimisation as a "myth". It is unclear whether this also applies to the Green Party...

For a voter who wants to see better conditions for harm minimisation and vejpning in Sweden, MP is not a good choice at present.

Not Passed - partly due to absenteeism

Liberals (l)

The Liberals are actually a wild card when it comes to harm reduction in tobacco policy. They voted the government's flavour ban. But only on the grounds that "they were not ready for this yet". What does that mean? 

However, the idea of individual autonomy is important to the party and harm minimisation is preferable to any ban. Meanwhile, the party's long-time spokesperson on health issues, Barbro Westerholm stepped down and retired. She belonged to the faction that believes that all addiction, whether it is the nicotine in cigarettes or in a vejp, is bad. We don't know who her successor will be, but it is likely to determine the party's position on the issue.

So, is a vote for the Liberals good for harm minimisation? The answer is as clear as a language test: doubtfully, but hopefully, yes. What speaks in favour of this is that a vote for the Liberals is also likely to be a vote for M, Kd and SD. This means that harm minimisation will be a central part of tobacco policy if the new alliance gains a majority in the parliament.

Authorised - because of the relationship

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3 Comments on “Val 2022: Så tycker partierna om e-cigaretter, snus och nikotin

  1. Imagine how tragic it really is with politics. They choose to think in order to win votes. If I were to make my choice this year because I am vejpare. I would go against so many of my principles and opinions. I will never vote blue. Whether it is for my nicotine intake with flavouring.
    Privatisation NO THANKS. Take from the poor and give to the rich NO THANKS.

    1. No, it is certainly not easy when issues clash with an overall political position. The idea of this list is to highlight the actual positions of the parties. Then it's up to each person to weigh up how important it is when they go to vote. Another good thing to remember is that the work in the committees is very different from the debate that takes place before an election. The committees are about working together and finding solutions to very complex issues. This also applies to nicotine and tobacco issues. Individual MEPs can play a major role here. And the influence of voters can be very important. So anyone who wants to see a different policy in "their" party can work for it by contacting their elected members and raising the issue directly. That way you can actually change things from within, without having to give up your ideological convictions. Having said that, we need to know what the party thinks right now - otherwise it doesn't matter 😉.

      MVH Stefan, editor

  2. In any case, it is good that the centre-right parties and SD are in the majority regardless of the government, so they can stop any further proposals from the Socialists to sabotage vejpning and other smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products.

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