Once again, it is on the agenda. These flavours that we use in our e-cigarettes and enjoy. But something that strikes me is that I, me and maybe you too, have passed the 40 with both VAT, customs and other taxes, but once again the powers that be show that our voice is simply not our voice. That our views and opinions are not relevant, or perhaps simply do not exist.
They want to claim that we, who are closer to death than birth and who have been smokers, cannot possibly enjoy treating ourselves to something sweet, fresh or refreshing but what we promptly want is a taste of grass fire mixed with possibly nuts or mint and despite the fact that we stand and say explicitly that, no that's not what we want, so like the embarrassing 5-year-old who expresses something embarrassing about another person at the checkout, we are quickly pushed behind the back of our "protector" with a front-west "sssschh, you don't say that" and then you pretend that nothing has happened.
Taking my vote
When did our voice become unimportant? Could it be that we are being used as a battering ram for a completely wrong and unfounded opinion, and if so, when did we allow this to happen? I feel exploited, disregarded and ignored by those in power who repeatedly put words in my mouth and gently squeeze my jaw and then pull out the words they themselves put in my mouth.
They simply take my voice and with my voice they say words that I do not stand for, that I would never have said myself as they are not true for me.
What has brought the issue to the fore is the black market. Especially with disposable models.
Disposable models - for better or worse
It hasn't escaped anyone's notice how the disposables have entered the country with a huge bang and the market is oversaturated with different brands and flavours and I would personally say it's for better or worse.
On the one hand, it is an easy way to get smokers to try something that is de facto better for their health and it does not require a major investment. About the same price as a pack of better quality cigarettes.
Unfortunately, the price also brings with it something bad. What 15-year-old today can't scrape together a hundred bucks for a disposable vape?
Problems that can be solved
Now 15-year-olds are not allowed to buy disposables. It is a nicotine product just like cigarettes and snus, but unfortunately there are a lot of traders who have dollar signs in their eyes and simply don't care about the rules, as long as the money comes in. To curb this, more regular checks are needed by municipalities, which already find it difficult to prioritise due to lack of time and money. But this is a problem that can be solved with resources and knowledge.
Clear rules on what applies
The next point is 'amount of use'.
There are a couple of rules on one-offs, but in general terms this applies:
1. Nicotine strength. It may have a maximum nicotine strength of 20mg/ml.
2. Quantity of liquid. It should contain a maximum of 2ml of liquid - enough for around 800 flares - no more.
3. it must be checked and authorised by the FHM and have an ECID.
It sounds great on paper, it really does, but with a couple of quick keystrokes and mouse clicks you can find disposable packs of 5000 puffs in varying nicotine strengths, sometimes over 20 mg/ml, at a price that makes the Swedish market price look like extortion. A couple more clicks and a pack is on its way home, without any kind of age check.
The internet is a thing?
Now we come to what at least I see as the big problem. We humans like to be in contact with others. We discuss, argue and aggregate both face-to-face, but also via the internet. So do young people. Often to a greater extent than us older blokes. Snapchat, Messenger, etc. often have larger groups of individuals and unfortunately you often hear that someone has bought disposable devices via one of these networks. Often devices that are obviously not registered with the Public Health Authority and, given the price they pay, definitely not taxed.
Stop putting words in our mouths
So, what can we do about these situations we are de facto dealing with?
The first one is the easiest. Stop dumbing people down and putting words in their mouths, dear politicians. It can't be that hard to actually listen to people instead of assuming you know what we want.
Check, check, check CHECK!
The second one is a bit more tricky, but here the state can fulfil its need for control. MORE CONTROLS! Check shops, ALL shops. That they have authorised products. That they check IDs. There is simply nothing about it that I think is wrong. Nicotine IS addictive, it SHOULD NOT be traded among young people. Make sure that customs checks more so that black imports are prevented.
Educate parents - but correctly
Provide parents and educators with CORRECT INFORMATION about the different products, not a bunch of untruths like "Yes, if you try a vape, you will soon be sitting on the bench with a load of heroin going into your arm".
If you reading this ARE one of those politicians who actually care about your constituents. Take a few steps into your nearest REAL e-cigarette shop, not the local corner shop or petrol station, and ask questions. I bet the people working on the products will be happy to give you information. So much information that you can actually arm yourself with one of the most powerful weapons in today's society: accurate information.