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Denmark looks to stricter laws to battle use of nicotine, disposable e-cigs

Increased age limits, higher prices and more severe sanctions for stores breaking the law. These are some of the measures being considered as the Danish health minister starts to look at ways to address the rising use of nicotine products in the country.

At the end of June, Sophie Løhde, Denmark’s minister for the interior and health, began exploring ways to reduce the consumption of cigarettes, nicotine and alcohol. She expressed concern about harmful nicotine products, particularly disposable vaping products as well as nicotine pouches, and emphasised the need for stricter measures.

“There have been a lot of terrible nicotine products introduced into the market, both legal and illegal,” Løhde said. “Many people use nicotine pouches, but illegal disposable vaping products such as puff bars are also increasingly being used by young people, and I am deeply concerned about that.”

She added that the nicotine content of disposable vaping products was “insanely high” and that they also contained other “deeply harmful substances”. Flavoured disposable products – aside from menthol and tobacco – are banned in Denmark, though the illicit sale of other flavours continues to be an issue.

Løhde suggested investigating various enforcement and legislative options to address the issue, including improving age restrictions on tobacco products. The age limit for buying tobacco and vaping products in Denmark is currently 18, but the health minister said that it is not respected in many places. Though this would suggest it is more an enforcement issue than one of policy.

Spokespeople on health from different political parties, who attended a meeting in June, agree on the need to take action. The Conservative People’s Party suggested sanctions or closures for stores violating the law, while the Danish Social Liberal Party advocated for increased restrictions. The Red–Green Alliance said that the price of nicotine products is one of the items that should be discussed.


Polls support health ministry’s suggestions

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    The last national prevention plan from 2019 included measures such as keeping cigarette packs off shelves, implementing neutral packs, and banning flavourings in tobacco and e-cigarettes. Since then the situation has changed – largely because of new alternative nicotine products entering the market.

    According to a recent poll conducted by Epinion for the Cancer Society, six out of ten voters would raise the price of cigarettes to DKK100 (€13.50), up from the current price range of DKK55 (€7.40) to DKK60 (€8).

    With the exception of the New Right and the Denmark Democrats, both minority right-wing opposition parties, a majority of members from all the parties in the Folketing (parliament) support the increase. Among the members of the governing parties (together holding 17 of the 179 seats in the Folketing), the support of the Social Democrats is 64%, the Liberals 58%, and the Moderates 71%.

    Last year another poll conducted by the same survey company showed that a majority of Danes want a higher age limit for buying tobacco, fewer points-of-sale and a stop on sales to future generations.

    A poll carried out this month revealed that half of the respondents were in favour of a ban on smoking outdoors at venues such as bars and restaurants with outdoor service. Løhde said that the potential need to revise where smoking is permitted will be considered after the summer holidays.

    The Danish Health Authority suggests treating e-cigarettes, smoke-free tobacco, and other new tobacco and nicotine products equally to smoking in municipalities’ preventive initiatives, meaning smoking regulations and initiatives could also apply to these products.

    – Jessica Suni ECigIntelligence contributing writer

    Photo: admiratio

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    This article was written by one of ECigIntelligence’s international correspondents. We currently employ more than 40 reporters around the world to cover individual vaping markets. For a full list, please see our Who We Are page.

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