Minister of Health, Bent Høie, published its proposal of the Norwegian Tobacco Act on June 10, as he announced during a press conference on May 31. He hopes the bill to be approved and accepted by the Parliament in the coming weeks and emphasizes the endgame of a tobacco-free generation in a close future.
The protection of children, as the First goal
The changes he proposed in the revised national Tobacco Act firstly address the safety of tobacco products packages and snus packages.
“We must protect children and adolescents. The goal is a tobacco-free generation. We will do this using standardized packaging and remove the advertising effect“, declared Bent Høie to the Dagbladet.
Second: Vaping products will be treated as tobacco products
“The Government proposes that the current ban on the sale of e-cigarettes is repealed. We want to make e-cigarettes available to smokers who want a harm reduction alternative”
The changes proposed by the Minister of Health and also interest vaping products that are now regarded as an option in the fight against smoking, even though they are treated as other tobacco products.
Lukewarmness of the Minister for the personal vaporizer
Although the Minister does not seem fully convinced of the benefits of the product, he nevertheless recognizes that they are safer than combusted tobacco but he hesitates, between snus and the personal vaporizer, which one is the safest.
This is sensu stricto the same tone as the EU TPD with the same limitations on e-liquid nicotine concentration, container and tank capacity, advertising bans, pre-market notification and the exact similar ban on vaping closely following that of smoking. Fuzziness remains on advertising authorizations since retailers would not be able to show their products in stores. This part needs clarification, according to Morten Moe’s comments in the VapingGiraffe.
“We are going to open for the sale of E-cigarettes. Although E-cigarettes also are harmful, it may be an opportunity for people who want to quit with regular tobacco and move to a less harmful product. Opening for sale gives us a completely different opportunity to inform about E-cigarettes. I think many people who are using E-cigarettes believe it is only water vapor coming out, but the nicotine content in the vapor is as high as in normal cigarette smoke. It is not harmless to vape at home when the children are present.“
Nicotine, is it the real enemy?
The Minister seems convinced that nicotine, the lowest common denominator of all the products cited above, is the enemy. This is based on a report published last year by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), “Health risks associated with the use of electronic cigarettes“, that wrongly qualified nicotine as very dangerous and addictive while bleaching e-vapor from any other harmful substances.
In this debate, tobacco experts believe that the addictive potential that is attributed to nicotine in analogy with tobacco cigarette’s addiction is in fact due to smoking itself, and that nicotine alone is not the most addictive principle of the smoke. The best proof is that nobody gets stuck to NRTs and that their use on the long-term is safe.
Mister Bent Høie, apparently, is not yet ready to admit that “Being able to vape where you cannot smoke would have encouraged a lot of smokers to switch, or at least try e-cigarettes, which in turn might have turned them into accidental quitters“, as formulated by M. Moe and many responsible vaping advocates, worldwide.
Is this finally all about diplomacy to preserve trading relationships with a powerful neighbour, Europe?