Many thanks to Ingmar Kurg for this article about the good news coming out of Estonia this week.
Amendments passed in the Estonian Parliament on 4 May will allow menthol flavoured e-liquids and heated tobacco products to be sold.
The Bill had been initiated by the government and attracted a raft of amendments from MPs, who recognise the importance of introducing tobacco harm reduction policies.
Last year the sale of all flavoured e-liquid (with the exception of tobacco flavour and flavourless) was banned in Estonia. Monday’s decision to allow menthol flavours to be sold is a small but important step towards recognising the importance of less harmful nicotine products and supporting smokers as they transition away from the taste of tobacco. As menthol will be banned in conventional cigarettes later this month, the availability of menthol e-liquids will also provide an alternative for smokers who like the taste of menthol.
*** UPDATE 28 February 2021 ***
There is outrage at the news that the Danish National Board of Health and the Minister of Health did not release key information before the tobacco action plan was voted in. The tobacco action plan includes harsh regulations for safer nicotine products, based on the notion that vaping is causing young people to smoke. However, as DADAFO reports, the data actually show the exact opposite:
"Adolescents who start vaping or using snus would probably have started smoking if there had not been a low-risk alternative available. And the figures show that the few young people who start vaping or using snus do not go on to smoking tobacco. On the contrary, the figures show that young people who are already smoking are actually trying to quit smoking by switching to vaping or snus."
Nyheder reports that the National Board of Health paid extra to get a bigger sample size for the Danish Smoking Habits 2019 survey, in a quest to find more smokers. Publication of that report was delayed by several months, meaning that politicians did not have access to the latest figures during the negotiations for the tobacco action plan.
Shockingly, the good news that vaping is not a gateway to smoking for Danish youngsters was buried - and legislation which will deny adult smokers access to life saving products was voted in.
DADAFO's Peter Stigaard told ETHRA:
“the existing legislation is adequate, and if the enforcers of the law would indeed enforce the law (no sales to minors) there would be no need for restrictions on products which satisfy adult consumers, and keep adults away from smoking tobacco cigarettes.”
*** UPDATE 16 DECEMBER 2020 ***
Yesterday we learned that the Danish Parliament voted to adopt the the Bill amending the Act on the ban on tobacco advertising etc. This will see most e-liquid flavours banned, plain packaging for vaping products and display and advertising bans. For updates please follow DADAFO on Facebook, here
*** UPDATE 28 SEPTEMBER 2020 ***
Danish media reported yesterday that the flavour ban proposals had been indefinitely postponed but then today issued a correction, saying that:
"The Ministry of Health has subsequently stated that it considers that e-cigarettes are not covered by the Commission's opinion. The Ministry is therefore continuing to work on banning e-cigarettes with flavor as of April 1, 2021.
At the same time, the Ministry considers that the Commission's opinion covers the planned ban on hookah tobacco and flavored chewing tobacco, which is therefore postponed immediately"
see: EU bremser dansk tiltag mod rygning, Jyllands-Posten
Also see: Le gouvernement Danois ajourne la prohibition du vapotage aromatisé [MàJ] ou pas ? from Vapolitique
With the onset of COVID-19, governments around the world are frantically trying to put measures in place to deal with the greatest crisis we have faced in a generation. In many countries all but non-essential businesses have been shut, mass gatherings have been banned, countries have closed their borders and strict travel restrictions have been put in place. These measures, together with social distancing, are vital to ensure we ‘flatten the curve’ and slow down the spread of the virus, but they have also presented some challenges and had unintended consequences of their own.
Facebook and Vapolitique
One social media platform appears to be doing its utmost to restrict the free flow of information.
Philippe Poirson found himself locked out of Facebook after he shared an article from the newspaper 24 Heures, regarding chloroquine tests on COVID-19 at the Lausanne hospital, on the grounds that he’d breached the policy on “organized violence and apology for crime”.
The crackdown on Vapolitique’s Poirson follows a ban being issued to Dr. Philippe Arvers, an addiction and tobacco specialist at the Armed Forces Medical Center, for sharing a VICE article denigrating studies by Stanton Glantz.