The Swedish Ministry of Social Affairs announced a national plan to ban all flavored cigarettes, except for the tobacco taste ones. What could be the consequences for smokers?
The biggest e-cigarettes and tobacco heated products challenge for 2022 is the possible ban of flavors, a decision that could potentially put smokers health at risk.
Canada, USA, Ireland: all of these states have in common a national debate over the possibility of banning flavored ENDS. One of the main reason behind the choice is preventing kids from trying this new category of products. There are no evidence that directly link flavors e-cigarettes and possible smoking addiction in teenagers: the behavior of the group and the will of trying something forbidden are two important aspects in the context of kids addiction. Furthermore, it is possible that a teenager who approaches vaping is a kind of teenager who would have tried smoking anyway.
In the last couple of days, the swedish Ministry of Social Affairs announced it’s plan to ban all flavours except tobacco taste.
As reported by a press release by the World Vapers Alliance, 150.000 former smokers in Sweden could be forced to switch back to smoking if the government goes ahead with its proposed ban on vaping flavours.
Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance commented:
“Banning flavours could force thousands of former smokers in Sweden to take up the habit once again. Research shows vapers are more than twice as likely to quit with flavours. If they are banned, 150.000 vapers – the equivalent of almost the entire population of Uppsala – would lose their flavours and could go back to smoking. This would be a major setback in the fight against smoking and its related illnesses.”
“It is worrying that a country like Sweden, famed for its pragmatism, is taking such a heavy handed approach towards vaping. Politicians have lost their common sense, and it is vapers and smokers who will suffer”.
The government wants to regulate alternative nicotine products including vaping and nicotine pouches tougher. The new regulations and modifications are scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2022, but sections of the proposals will take effect on January 1, 2023 and January 1, 2024, respectively, to provide stakeholders time to adjust to the new requirements.
According to Yale School of Public Health vaping flavoured e-cigarettes is associated with an 230% increase in the odds of adult smoking cessation. By not reminding vapers of the taste of tobacco, flavours are more likely to keep people off traditional cigarettes.
Two thirds of adults are using other flavours than tobacco. That means that bans could send many of them back to cigarettes or to the black market. A flavour ban in San Francisco resulted in rising smoking rates among teenagers for the first time in decades.
Therefore, banning flavours would have a profoundly negative effect on society. Vaping is a highly effective smoking cessation tool. It is considered 95% less harmful than cigarettes and flavours are an integral part of the success.
“Unless the Swedish government wants to force thousands of former smokers back to smoking, they need to reconsider their plans on a liquid flavour ban to prevent a public health crisis,” concluded Michael Landl.