torstai 8. syyskuuta 2016

WHO FCTC suggestions and Finland

It seems my dear little corner of northern Europe has taken a head start with regulation suggested by the WHO FCTC. Reading through the points they give for consideration versus our national law since 15th of august 2016:

Parties that have not banned the importation, sale, and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS may consider the following options: 
Our national health body suggested we should be banning ecigs alltogether, but EU is "forcing" us to allow them on the market. Ecigs were never banned, but all nicotine was classified as medication.

a. Banning the sale and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS to minors; 
In force
b. Banning the possession of ENDS/ENNDS by minors; 
In force for nicotine containing devices and liquids
c. Banning or restricting advertising, promotion and sponsorship of ENDS/ENNDS (see FCTC/COP/6/10 Rev.1); 
Complete ban of anything that might resemble any of these. Including product information on the internet, in face to face discussions with a store employee, and so on
d. Taxing ENDS/ENNDS at a level that makes the devices and e-liquids unaffordable to minors in order to deter its use in this age groupvii. In parallel, combustible tobacco products should be taxed at a higher level than ENDS/ENNDS to deter initiation and reduce regression to smoking; 
Draft legislation going to the parliament in september to add 30c/ml tax on liquids with or without nicotine, suggested to come into force 1.1.2017. However, the ministry of finance already budgeted the tax for next year. The tax would increase price of a 10ml bottle higher than a pack of cigarettes initially and level out to about the same in 2018. Possibly also adding things like 1500 euro tax on a 5 litre glycerine can if sold in a vape shop.
e. Banning or restricting the use of flavours that appeal to minors; 
Ban on characterizing flavors, as defined by the directive. Basically only cigarette flavour is allowed in liquids with or without nicotine.
f. Regulating places, density and channels of sales; and 
Channels restricted to physical stores only, places restricted somewhat. Health orgs suggest suppressing density of points of sale from 400 000 to 500, though this one is not in the legislation.
g. Taking measures to combat illicit trade in ENDS/ENNDS
No consideration given to black markets for some reason. Police has noted on snus that "sorry, but we have real work to do", presumably ecigs are not really different in that.

i. Testing heated and inhaled flavourants used in the e-liquids for safety, and banning or restricting the amount of those found to be of serious toxicological concern such as diacetyl, acetyl propionyl, cinnamaldehydes or benzaldehyde; 
Flavors banned.
ii. Requiring the use of ingredients that are not a risk to health and are, when allowed, of the highest purity; 
In force
iii. Regulating electrical and fire safety standards of ENDS/ENNDS devices; 
Not specific to ecigs, but exists
iv. Regulating the need for manufacturers to disclose product content to government; 
In force
v. Regulating appropriate labelling of devices and e-liquids;
In force. Though "appropriate" is highly debatable. 
vi. Requiring manufacturers to monitor and report adverse effects; and 
In force
vii. Providing for the removal of products that do not comply with regulations.
In force, with mandates offering the government officials power to do this simply at their own discretion. Includes trying to regulate cotton, wires, etc as ecigarette parts and flavorants and bases as nicotine free liquids.

b. Parties that have not banned the importation, sale, and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS may consider the following options to minimize health risks to non-users: 
i. Prohibiting by law the use of ENDS/ENNDS in indoor spaces or at least where smoking is not permittedviii;
In force for both
ii. Requiring health warnings about potential health risks deriving from their use. Health warnings may additionally inform the public about the addictive nature of nicotine in ENDS; and 
In force, requires two languages
iii. Reducing the risk of accidental acute nicotine intoxication by a) requiring tamperevident/child resistant packaging for e-liquids and leak-proof containers for devices and e-liquids and 
In force
b) limiting the nicotine concentration and total nicotine amount in devices and e-liquids. 
In force. Though legislators forgot to add empty tanks to this and now are in the process of changing that.

a. Prohibiting implicit or explicit claims about the effectiveness of ENDS/ENNDS as smoking cessation aids unless a specialized governmental agency has approved them; 
In force. No approval possible under tobacco act.
b. Prohibiting implicit or explicit claims that ENDS/ENNDS are innocuous or that ENDS are not addictive; and 
In force
c. Prohibiting implicit or explicit claims about the comparative safety or addictiveness of ENDS/ENNDS with respect to any product unless these have been approved by a specialized governmental agency.
In force, no approval possible under tobacco act.

I wonder, is Finland a breeding ground for these things? They keep passing with very little to no objection.
Most absurd thing is, Finnish ASH actually considers this a "decent middle ground".