The Norwegian government is likely to propose a ban on online sales of certain nicotine products. This concerns in particular snus, nicotine pouches, e-liquid and disposable vapes, but not nicotine gum and spray. The aim is to reduce sales to young people.
"It's completely absurd. We have just as strict age controls as the tax authorities," writes one online retailer in the newspaper Nettavisen.
Following the Norwegian government's announcement that it wants to allow the sale of both e-liquid with nicotine and pure nicotine pouches in the country, criticism of the proposal is growing. While previously illegal products will be available in physical stores, the government wants to ban all online sales.
"We have a 100 per cent age check with BankID on all our customers. This is exactly the same requirement as when you submit a tax return or apply for a mortgage of several million kronor. But apparently BankID verification is not enough for our health minister." Adrian Hauer, who runs an online shop for snus and nicotine bags in Norway, writes in the an opinion piece.
Fighting for Norwegian snus farmers
The debate on the planned ban has also stirred up bad blood in various political camps. Representatives of the Framskrittspartiet, which is in opposition, argue that the government is far too categorical about the sale of snus. This is something that particularly affects local snus growers, who are a counterpart to the tobacco companies in the production of snus in Norway. The majority of local snus sales are made online.
"We will fight for snus farmers and do everything we can to stop the plans for such a ban," said Mr Perez. Bård Hoksrud from the Framskrittspartiet in The online newspaper.
Flavour ban on e-cigs criticised
As vejpkollen previously reported, the Norwegian government also wants to ban flavours in e-liquids with nicotine. Or rather, all flavours except so-called "tobacco flavours". This has been heavily criticised, not only by users, but also by researchers at the Norwegian Health Authority.
"A large majority of people who use e-cigarettes to stay smoke-free use flavours other than tobacco flavour, almost 80%. Banning the flavours, while also banning online sales, is therefore both risky and counterproductive. Especially if you want to reduce the harm of nicotine use in Norway", says the tobacco researcher. Karl-Erik Lund i The online newspaper.
Favours nicotine medicines
The new tobacco law in Norway is expected to be presented to parliament before the summer. If passed, nicotine products will only be sold by pharmaceutical companies through pharmacies - at least online. Smoking among young people has dropped to less than 1% in Norway as the use of snus and e-cigarettes has increased. According to Karl-Erik Lunds studies are snus and e-cigarettes also the two most commonly used smoking cessation methods in Norway.