Friday, 13 February 2015

Plain packaging in Norway: Goverment party says NO!

On Tuesday I wrote about the Norwegian Health ministers' proposal to introduce plain packaging here in Norway, and the other government party, FRP, said then that they had not taken a position to the proposal yet. Now they have... and it's a straight forward one as well (in Norwegian, hope google translate does a decent job): They refuse to accept it, as it goes against their decided party politics which states the following:
We recognize that excessive use of tobacco and alcohol can lead to serious health problems and are in favor of public information about adverse effects. We will still oppose bureaucratic measures that aim to prevent adults from enjoying legal products. Progress Party believes it should be allowed to promote any products that can be legally sold in Norway.
So apparently there will be no trade done like suggested on Tuesday, when one member of FRP stated that legalizing e-cigarettes would be a demand from FRP if they were to support plain packaging.

This does not mean that we won't see e-cigarettes legalized after all. In the article I linked above it says that Høyre, Health minister Bent Høie's party, also want to make e-cigarettes legal. Reading the rest of the article though, it does not seem like this is something the party as a whole have gone public with yet, like FRP has done. However Sveinung Stensland from Høyre (who is also a menber of the healthcare committee) says he gives his full support to FRP in this matter. Being a pharmacist as well, Stenslands position on this should weigh pretty heavy when Høyre decides on their official position. He even goes far in saying this should have been done long time ago.

It actually looks we are closer to a repeal of the e-cig sales ban here in Norway than ever before. But if this is going to happen the government parties needs support from some of the other parties as well as they are a minority government. None of their closest cooperation parties have taken a stand yet as far as I know. Then there is a question of what they actually mean by making it legal for sale. How will it be regulated and taxed?

I'm really not sure how this will end, but I feel slightly optimistic today :) At least vaping and e-cigarettes have gotten quite a lot of media coverage lately, and it's not junk science and scaremongering. For example Dagens Næringsliv, which I think is the biggest financial newspaper here in Norway, had a pretty long well balanced article yesterday, with positive statements from both SIRUS (The Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research) and members of NDS (Norwegian union of vapers). SIRUS also recently published a new report (an anthology actually) on e-cigarettes entitled "What significance do electronic cigarettes have?", where they debunk the gateway theory, criticize junk science and kind of concludes that e-cigarettes will be hugely positive for public health. In addition to this I know that a lot of Norwegian vapers are now mobilizing and planning how to get the truth out to the public via the media.

So things are looking better here in Norway at the moment. Hopefully this positive trend will continue, so more smokers in this country will have the opportunity to experience what we vapers already have. They are the ones we're fighting for here.



  1. Sounds like very good news to me - certainly a big step up from the attitudes of our idiots!

  2. I got my first electronic cigarette kit on VaporFi, and I enjoy it a lot.