Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Harm reduction in Sweden down the drain

The Swedish government has decided to increase the tax on Snus (Swedish smokeless tobacco) by 12% according to Swedish newspaper Expressen: http://goo.gl/LE7HKD. Cigarettes, and other smoking tobacco on the other hand, gets only a 6% increase. I'd like to quote my fellow blogger Dan, who started an excellent blog last month and lives in Sweden:
This batshit crazy policy will cause harm – as some people might decide to choose to smoke, instead of using a product that is so much safer that it isn’t just in a different ballpark, it’s a different sport altogether.
Couldn't have said it better myself, Dan. I mean, why would the country that has the lowest cigarette consumption and the lowest rate of tobacco related harms and diseases in the EU put a tax on a product that actually is one of the main reasons they are in that position? Can you think of one reason? I bet you can... and you're right again: It's all about the money. Expressen wasn't able to get hold of the Swedish Minister of Finance, Magdalena Andersson, but was able to get comments from Fredrik Olovsson who I guess answers on her behalf. My knowledge of all Swedish political titles isn't all that good, but he's a finance guy at least. Anyway, here is his reasoning: "We need the money. We are borrowing 10 million each hour in Sweden today [...] we really need this money." Well, Mr. Olovsson, making a country dependent on sin taxes isn't just a bad idea, it's a horrible idea. It doesn't really take a political mastermind to figure that out, now does it? If you make your country dependent on people destroying their health, you're in deep shit. I don't really have to explain that do I? Well, I kind of did a while ago: http://goo.gl/ilDxwT.

So, what does this all have to do with e-cigarettes? Well the Swedish government is also trying their best to ban e-cigarettes, which, as Snus, is a lot less harmful than cigarettes. It seems to me that the Swedish government is willing to sacrifice the health of their people to pay their bills. They seem determined to flush all harm reduction alternatives down the drain, because it will reduce their income as well as harm.

I'd like to finish today's post by recommending another blog, especially for the ones that are interested in Scandinavian e-cigarette politics: argvargen. "Argvargen" means something like "the angry wolf". Especially I'd like to recommend this post from a few days ago on the topic of snus and e-cigarettes in Sweden. Great, well written blog, Dan. I hope you keep biting their head of with your razor sharp wolf teeth.

Stoptober Stoptober Stoptober

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