Brussels, Belgium, 15 November 2023 — The Danish government coalition is developing a package of 30 measures aimed at reducing the country’s alcohol and nicotine use, including raising tax on nicotine products and a flavour ban. However, such measures risk resulting in a reverse outcome with the growth of illicit markets and pushing back consumers to smoking, says the World Vaper’s Alliance.
“The Danish government is missing a key component here — prohibition doesn’t work. What we need is a risk-based regulation. Nicotine products such as vaping are aimed at minimising the risks associated with combustible cigarettes. Just like seat belts and helmets enhance safety while driving, harm reduction seeks practical solutions over unrealistic ideals,” commented the director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, Michael Landl.
“Price and variety are crucial determinants of whether smokers will quit. Banning vaping flavours or increasing the price of nicotine products, won’t prevent youth from consuming, but will make it harder for adult smokers to quit. Vaping flavours are associated with a 230% increase in the odds of smoking cessation. The Danish government should create more opportunities for people to stop smoking, not take them away,” added Landl.
“The Danish lawmakers don’t need to look far for successful examples of harm reduction. Sweden is on track to become the first smoke-free country in the world because it understands that new nicotine products are a solution to the smoking epidemic, not the cause of it,” added Landl.
Earlier this year, Sweden announced a program of lowering tax on snus and nicotine pouches while significantly raising cigarette tax.
World Vapers’ Alliance has released an extensive fact sheet on vaping and tobacco harm reduction. The key findings pertaining to vaping flavours and taxation are as follows:
A flavour ban in San Francisco resulted in rising smoking rates among teenagers for the first time in decades, Friedman (2020).
A flavour ban in Massachusetts resulted in higher sales of cigarettes, Rich (2022).
A flavour ban in Estonia resulted in 60% of vapers using flavours by mixing their own liquids or obtaining them from the black market, Tholos Foundation (2022).
Flavoured ENDS restrictions across the United States resulted in a tradeoff of 15 additional cigarettes for every 1 less 0.7 mL ENDS pod sold due to ENDS flavour restrictions, Friedman et al. (2023).
Cotti et al. (2020)³⁴ analysed the effects of e-cigarette taxes on tobacco product sales and concluded that vapes and cigarettes are substitute products, suggesting that increases in e-cigarette taxes can lead to increases in tobacco consumption. (Also in the works of Grace, Kivell & Laugesen (2015), Abouk et al. (2023), Pesko, Courtemanche & Maclean (2020), and Huang, Tauras & Chaloupka (2014)).