On March 4, the Swedish government has formally proposed a ban on non-tobacco e-cigarette flavors, including menthol. The proposed law covers nicotine and non-nicotine e-liquids and also gains regulatory powers over all synthetic nicotine products.
If passed, it would be illegal to sell flavored vaping products from January 1, 2023.
The bill, titled Enforcement of stricter regulations on new nicotine products, was introduced last week by the Ministry of Social Affairs and is currently under review by the Legislative Council (Lagrédet), which assesses the legal validity of the proposed bill before it is considered by lawmakers.
According to Stefan Mathisson of Swedish e-cigarette website Vejpkollen, the bill will be voted on by the Riksdag (Parliament) as early as March 22.
According to Google Translate of the government announcement, the proposed law prohibits the addition of additives to e-liquids that have a distinctly distinct smell or taste other than tobacco. (Unfortunately, the actual law is only available in the Swedish PDF.) The law also sets a minimum age of 18 to purchase products made from synthetic nicotine, which was not previously regulated.
The government has aggressively pursued flavor bans for years. According to Mathisson, the government completed an investigation into the issue last year and announced an imminent bill to ban the flavor.
Sweden is known to have the lowest rates of adult smoking in Europe and the lowest rates of tobacco-induced disease because snus is a pasteurized smokeless tobacco product with no proven harms. Snus is banned in the EU, but Sweden was granted an exemption allowing the sale of snus when it entered the EU in 1995. Snuff has been widely used in Sweden for over 200 years. Swedish Match Snuff was the first tobacco product to receive Modified Risk (MRTP) designation from the US FDA in 2019.
If Sweden passes its flavour ban, it will become the eighth European country to do so. Estonia, Finland, Hungary and Ukraine currently have flavor restrictions. Denmark’s flavor ban will go into effect in April, and Lithuania and the Netherlands have passed bans that will start in July. No European country has completely banned the sale of all vaping products.