Monday, 25 August 2014

Swedish court bans nicotine e-cigs and e-liquid

The Swedish Administrative court ruled last month that e-liquid and e-cigarettes containing nicotine should be treated as pharmaceutical products and thus needs approval before they can be sold in Sweden (http://goo.gl/FOKjDk).

The Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) has been trying to get such a ruling for a while now. In October last year they issued a sales ban on one of the biggest Swedish retailers (http://goo.gl/mIYMm2), a decision that was appealed to the Administrative court. Now the court has rejected this appeal. The court considers e-cigarettes with nicotine to be pharmaceutical products, something that gives the MPA authority to regulate sales.

The MPA says they have a good overview of the big importers and that they will will turn to the import stage, while the municipalities have the opportunity to do oversight of sales in small shops. The MPA hopes that the ban will lead to safer products entering the market and says that today’s products are not proven to be neither safe nor effective (http://goo.gl/VHPYq4, in Swedish). I'm sorry what? This stinks of Big Pharma all the way over to Norway. If the MPA really wants safer products on the market they would definitely not have done this, unless they are incredibly stupid. Honestly I do not think they are that stupid, so this just has Big Pharma written all over it.

However, the sales still goes on in Sweden (http://goo.gl/5pWWhj, also in Swedish) as the ruling has not take effect yet, and the company in Malmö that the MPA tried to stop in the first place has of course appealed again to a higher court instance. The owner says he is considering moving his business out of the country like many others, for example to Poland, Germany or the UK. Selling to Swedes from these countries is no problem, he says. So... it's pretty obvious what will happen in Sweden: People will move their business to another country. And I bet they'll have a thriving black market before long as well. So much for the safer products that the MPA say they want. I bet the MPA is as surprised as I am by the fact that no-one has applied for approval of any e-cigarette or e-liquid product yet.

This is sad news from Sweden indeed. Instead of moving forward, they have taken a step backwards when it comes to the legal status of e-cigarettes in Sweden. So now they have, from what I know and unless the appeal from Malmö goes through, the same status as here in Norway. I've been a bit hopeful lately that Norway would take a step forward and repeal the ban, as some of our governing parties have said they want that, and the Minister of Health says he is open to discuss it. Well that might be just something he says to keep voters happy, but at least it's not all negative. The sad thing is that Norway tends to look a lot to Sweden (god knows why), so I think this court decision might hurt the case in Norway as well, possibly stopping what could have been a great step in the right direction.

Now this all sounds very bad for all us Scandinavian vapers, but I'm convinced that vaping is here to stay. Despite the current legal status here in Norway, we're seeing a huge growth in e-cigarette use, and eventually the politicians will have to give in to the pressure, as science will continue to work in the favour of vaping. To Swedish vapers reading this I'd like to say: Don't panic, you'll be able to continue vaping, just look at us Norwegians. We're doing just fine. And don't give up fighting, your battle isn't even completely lost yet and the war is far from over.

Golden-DropsG2

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