Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Norwegian Directorate of Health statement on e-cigarettes

After my post yesterday I got some feedback from Griz (uncle Mike) and an update on the situation in Sweden, and he linked me an article (http://www.svd.se/opinion/brannpunkt/e-cigaretter-en-dold-fara_8380094.svd) in a Swedish newspaper written by some official. It's basically full of bullshit about the made up health risks of nicotine containing e-liquid. The headline says a lot, translates to something like "E-cigarettes, a hidden hazard". I mean they got everything from the potentially deadly effects of PG vapor to babies dying from nic poisoning because they drink from all the colorful bottles, the whole nine yards.

I guess the situation is pretty much the same as here in Norway, but we're lucky we have someone with a bit of authority speaking our case here, there is apparently no Swedish version of Karl Erik Lund. Anyway, inspired by this I started looking a bit more into what the Norwegian Directorate of Health writes on helsenorge.no (the public health portal in Norway) about the ban on e-cigarettes. The information is found here, in Norwegian (again, google translate will give you a slightly confusing version). Again, the same ridiculous hazards are mentioned, pretty much the same as in the Swedish article: dangerous PG, metals(!) and nicotine in the air (which would be dangerous to bystanders) and dead children. I mean, how long can they keep using this dead children argument? There are loads of substances you can buy at a normal supermarket that will kill a kid if they eat or drink it.

Furthermore they argue that there are lots of other great products you already can buy in the pharmacy that will help you stop smoking, and there is even a magic phone number you can call to get help. Fantastic isn't it?

However, the Directorate of Health does not deny that electronic cigarettes could be a helpful aid to stop smoking. They say that e-cigarettes containing nicotine (and e-liquid) was banned for precautionary reasons, and that more documentation was needed, and is still needed before they can recommend using them. They claim to be following the rapid development of new products and research done in the area. This is a bit hard to believe though, as they finish the paragraph by saying they are happy that fewer people is smoking to day than a few years ago and they don't want the use of e-cigarettes to turn this trend around. Well ... that is going to have to be the lamest statement as of now right? Following the development my arse... are they waiting for someone to write it their penis and fuck it into their heads?

Anyway, after reading all the way to the last paragraph I have a feeling that they are not all negative. I feel they write a lot of stuff cause they have to, since the law is still there, and they are waiting for the outcome in the EU, so they don't deny directly that these e-cigarettes might be a good thing. However, reading the last paragraph I don't really know what to think. In short: 
* "In our neighbor countries Sweden and Denmark, and a lot of other countries, e-cigarettes are regulated as medicine, but they know of no products that has been approved as this."  Is this correct, anyone?
* "In Norway it would take years to get a product approved"...Ok
* "If you want to use them you can import them from other countries for personal use"... so you want us to just keep on doing that then?

In conclusion... the Norwegian Directorate of Health is following the development in e-cigarettes closely and haven't changed their opinion in 6 months. Good work :)


  1. The only reason why they say 'regulated as medicines' is that it sounds better than 'banned by being classified as medicines'. There are no e-cigs that have been medically approved in Scandinavia and I would venture none in the entire western world.

    It sounds very much as if the three Scandinavian health departments have decided on a uniform story to tell their citizens. Lots of fear, uncertainty and doubt coupled with the old 'we don't know enough' and 'there's not enough research' arguments.The nail in the coffin is the 'gateway' argument. As e-cigs look like smoking, you can't allow them because it makes it acceptable to smoke. This line is firmly in agreement with the WHO's position which has nothing to do with health and lots to do with dogma from people who believe they have the right to dictate what people are allowed to do with their own bodies.

    From the EU perspective, (i.e. the Danish and Swedish one), the proposed EU rules allow individual states to ban cross border sales. I'm sure this has been put in there to allow the Swedes and Danes to implement a policy of confiscating e-liquid containing nicotine at the border and effectively implement a de facto ban on e-cigs in their countries.

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