Companies selling e-cigarettes are no longer allowed to link to their website via social media or email. This is irrespective of whether the sale is direct or not. This is clear after the Swedish Consumer Agency has criticised the company eSmokes for violating the provisions on marketing in the Act on tobacco and similar products.
Esmokes is one of Sweden's oldest companies in the trade for e-cigarettes, e-juice and accessories. Sales are made both in stores and online. But eSmokes also has social media accounts where it regularly publishes product information about nicotine-free products and accessories that are not regulated by law, as well as a link to its website. They also send out a regular newsletter to customers with links to unregulated products.
But that's all over now. According to the Swedish Consumer Agency, the posts are still regarded as "encouraging the use of tobacco products" and therefore prohibited under the Tobacco and Similar Products Act.
"Our newsletters and posts must now be sent without links. It's as if our name is poisonous" says Niklas Sandinwhich runs eSmokes.
No advertising of nicotine or mods
Although the sale of e-cigarettes is fully authorised in Sweden the restrictions on marketing are very extensive. At the same time, the law has become difficult to apply in practice, especially since companies in the industry sell both regulated and unregulated products. According to the Swedish Consumer Agency, it is not permitted to link to, or even use a banner on a website to advertise products that are regulated under the Tobacco and Similar Products Act. This also applies to social media. For vejpshoppar, this interpretation has been guiding for e-liquid containing nicotine, but also certain nicotine-free products such as mods, tanks and devices containing both tank and battery (including all disposable models).
Interpreters on the law
However, nicotine-free e-liquids, such as essences and shortfills, are considered to be not regulated by law. Neither are loose parts such as nozzles and batteries. The Swedish Consumer Agency has previously announced that it is possible to display these products without it automatically being an offence. But according to the message to eSmokes, this is not allowed in the future either. Instead, KO chooses to interpret virtually all information on the website "within information society services" as unauthorised.
"Posts depicting e-cigarettes or refill containers as well as links to a website selling e-cigarettes or refill containers are considered to be commercial messages whose purpose or direct or indirect effect is to promote regulated products," the Swedish Consumer Agency writes to eSmokes, referring to the a judgement from 2022 where the company EcoCig was convicted for illegal marketing.
"Ban cigarettes instead?"
Niklas Sandin and eSmokes believe that the Swedish Consumer Agency should be more clear about what it actually requires from companies selling e-cigarettes.
"It is tiresome to say the least, but after 11 years in the business we are not surprised. They have the right to interpret the law. We have asked more questions about what exactly we CAN and CANNOT do and are awaiting answers. But the bottom line is that right now we are not allowed to link to our own website anymore. At the same time, we don't hear anyone talking about banning smoking tobacco and cigarettes, instead of constantly going after e-cigs and white snuff." says Niklas Sandin.