E-cigarettes, e-liquid and nicotine pouches will become legal in Norway. This is clear after the government's investigators gave their opinion and submitted their proposal to the government. However, although nicotine pouches are likely to keep their flavours, the government is forcing vejpare to choose only tobacco flavours in their e-juice.
"It's absurd" says Frank Tinmannsvik, Norsk Dampselskap.
After a process that has lasted almost eight years, road users in Norway will soon be able to buy nicotine liquid in local roadside shops. But the Norwegian the government's expected legislative proposals also includes a comprehensive ban on flavours. Only so-called "tobacco flavours" will be allowed in flavoured nicotine liquids. Frank Tinmannsvik, road worker, bus driver and member of the association. Norsk Dampselskap, says the long-awaited proposal leaves many adult users without viable alternatives to cigarettes.
"We have been fighting to buy our nicotine in our Norwegian stores since 2016. We have defeated proposals for extreme age limits and drug classification, and now we have to fight to the end for all flavours to be allowed for adult veipare", he says to Vejpkollen.
Criticism from tobacco researchers
The flavour ban proposal has also been heavily criticised by tobacco researchers in Norway. According to the Norwegian government, the ban will make e-cigarettes less appealing to young people and children. However, it admits that 80% of all e-cigarette users use fruit and candy flavours in their vapes. According to the Karl-Erik LundAccording to researchers at the Norwegian Health Authority, the ban is counterproductive.
- These flavours have been on the market since 2014, but it is smokers who use them, not children. I think that the concerns of older smokers should be given more weight than the concerns of children and young people in this case. When children and young people use e-cigarettes, it is occasional use from time to time. Adult smokers use it as an important way to quit smoking. Karl-Erik Lund to the newspaper Nettavisen.
Warns of increased smoking
Karl Erik Lund has research on tobacco use in Norway for over 35 years and has previously noted that smoking rates among young people are at a record low in Norway. He argues that the ban is therefore unnecessary and will probably only lead to an increase in smoking in Norway, especially among the elderly. He also warns of another development, where home mixing of e-liquid risks increasing.
"We are also introducing a ban on online sales and imports. Those road users who do not take up smoking again or accept tobacco flavours will start experimenting with home-made flavours. This can be dangerous if they don't know which substances are safe to use," said Mr Perez. Karl-Erik Lund.
According to Frank Timmansvik it is good that the sale of nicotine will be regulated. At least to the extent that the 70 or so vape shops that now exist in Norway can sell controlled products in the future.
"Today we buy our e-liquid nicotine-free in Norway and then we import the nicotine privately, primarily from Sweden. Then we mix it ourselves to the strength we want in the e-liquid" says Frank Tinmannsvik.
Right to choose
It is not uncommon for road users to import really strong nicotine, 100 mg/ml is the maximum allowed concentration. The maximum limit for EU-regulated e-liquid is 20 mg/ml.
"Being able to buy nicotine with controlled nicotine content over the counter is clearly an improvement for safety reasons. But for me as an adult not to be able to buy the flavour I want, with nicotine, in a shop is just crazy.
Only snus is defended
At the same time, he notes that political resistance banning flavours in e-cigarettes is weak compared to a similar ban on flavours in snus and nicotine pouches. According to several media reports, a majority of MPs in the Parliament will reject this part of the proposal. The flavours are therefore likely to remain in snus and nicotine pouches (which were previously, with some modification, completely banned in Norway).
"Snus is more important to protect, more important than protecting the rights of road users," says Mr Poirot. Frank Tinmannsvik. "But, it is understandable as snus is long established and e-cigarettes are still seen as something new and dangerous. For me, it is a human right to have access to as many alternatives as possible to cigarettes. For the public health authority, it is instead about limiting that possibility."
"Ignorant bureaucrats rule"
It is currently not entirely clear whether nicotine-free e-liquids are also affected by the flavour restriction. It is not clearly stated in the proposed legal text but according to the Frank Tinmannsvik this may well be the case as well.
"The problem is that this proposal has been drawn up by bureaucrats who have very little understanding of how e-liquid and e-cigarettes work in the real world. I don't think they have the slightest idea what a shortfill is. The same goes for the politicians who make the decisions, unfortunately", he says to Vejpkollen.
The proposal for a new law on nicotine products in Norway is likely to be submitted to the Parliament before the summer recess. Frank Tinmannsvik and Norsk Dampsellskap are hoping to get the opposition in the Norwegian Parliament to oppose the flavour flood ban.
"We hope that enough people understand that the ban is both unethical and illogical. The reasoning around flavours in nicotine pouches and snus should also apply to e-cigarettes," he said.
Hope for the Progress Party
'We will work hard to inform politicians about this. The largest opposition party, the Progress Party, has always been friendly to damage minimisation and road construction. But as things stand, there is a long way to go before a majority changes its mind on the issue. But we won't give up anytime soon," he says. Frank Tinmannsvik.