E-Cigarette Ban May Bolster Black Market Sales Skip to content
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E-Cigarette Ban May Bolster Black Market Sales

In a letter to Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir, the Icelandic Federation of Trade maintains that enforcing existing laws and regulations on e-cigarettes is more important than tightening regulation: “Existing laws stipulate state monitoring of e-cigarettes and e-liquids to ensure consumer safety and to prohibit sales to children and teenagers,” the IFT states.

The letter was penned after a group of members requested that the IFT emend “misrepresentations in statements made by the Directorate of Health, the Minister of Health, and the Icelandic media in regard to the recent lung-injury outbreak in the U.S. associated with e-cigarette use.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has concluded that the cause of the outbreak may most likely be traced to illegal marijuana products (THC liquids) that are sold on the black market without any kind of supervision,” the IFT maintains.

Instead of tightening regulation, the government should, the IFT argues, “encourage consumers to restrict their purchasing to regulated entities that operate in accordance with existing laws and regulations. IFT members emphasise the importance of selling only CE-certified products.”

The IFT agrees with Director of Health Alma Möller who characterised the results of a recent poll–indicating that 10% of Icelandic 10th graders use e-cigarettes habitually–as worrying. “It’s clear that minors are obtaining these e-cigarettes and related products by illegal means. The IFT is in agreement with the Director of Health in that public oversight, ensuring that the laws are followed, is necessary.”

Möller has recommended that the Directorate of Health tighten existing regulation, ban flavoured e-liquids and improve existing labels on e-cigarettes. The IFT points out that the current legislation on e-cigarettes forbids text or photo advertisements on e-cigarettes that target children and teenagers. Furthermore, advertising e-cigarettes and e-liquids is illegal.

“The Director of Health recommends banning flavoured e-liquids. Such a thing, however, has nothing to do with public health. Neither does it prevent individuals from obtaining such e-liquids. In the event of flavoured e-liquids being banned, individuals–children and teenagers included–may attempt to illegally obtain such liquids, which are not subject to public supervision. Flavoured liquids that have been smuggled into the country are not subject to laws and regulations regarding e-cigarettes and thus the law will not prevent unscrupulous parties from putting such liquids into the hands of children and teenagers. The consequences could be completely antipodal to the intentions.”

Twenty percent of Icelandic secondary school students are habitual users of e-cigarettes.

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