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Switzerland Reverses Ban on Vapor Products

Switzerland Reverses Ban on Vapor Products


Vapers in Switzerland can rejoice, as the country’s ban on selling vapor products containing nicotine was lifted by the courts after a vapor company challenged existing law. This is one example of how legislation can be changed through the activism and persistence of vapor advocates, who'd argued the need for an effective cessation tool for combustible cigarettes.  


In Europe, there are still a few countries that heavily regulate vaping beyond EU requirements, but Switzerland was one of the last holdouts supporting a complete ban on any type on vapor, as vapor products have largely been legalized and sold in the European Union. Switzerland is not a member of the EU, and therefore not bound by the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that restricts bottle and tank size.


This legislative win for the Swiss vapor community will make access to vapor products easier, and advocates argue that it’s a signal the winds are shifting toward a more health-based approach to vapor regulation. By making access to vapor part of the move away from combustible cigarettes, vapor companies and advocates argue the prospects for an overall healthier nation are bright.  


Court Ruling


Getting into specifics, Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court (FAC) overturned the ban imposed by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) after vapor company InSmoke appealed a prior decision.


“The FAC’s decision on Tuesday authorizes with immediate effect the import and sale of flacons [bottles] of liquid with nicotine for e-cigarettes," Judith Deflorin of the FSVO told Swiss broadcaster SRF, according to a report from Swissinfo.


Stefan Meile, director of InSmoke and president of the Swiss Vape Trade Association, expressed satisfaction at the court’s decision, saying it was an important “signal” to the government with regard to current health policy. The vapor company has been advocating such a move for nearly a decade.


Swissinfo reports that about 0.7 percent of the Swiss population vapes, making up just 60,000 people of their 8.4 million total population. With expanded access to legal products, expect that number to rise significantly in the months and years to come.


Health Policy and Bans


Meile’s hope is that these types of court decisions are an indication of a turning point for the vapor industry that has looked at vapor as an alternative to smoking combustible cigarettes. This has been partially true for the United States. Countries with more progressive vapor regulations including the United Kingdom and New Zealand view vapor as a health alternative, while others have reacted by banning the hobby incrementally or outright.


For more information about other overseas countries that ban vapor, in January, we looked at nations with vapor bans, noting that most of the full bans on vapor are concentrated in South America, the Middle East, and South Asia. A wild-card country is still Australia, which has imposed strict bans on public vapor, and have yet to formulate real regulatory guides.


What does it mean that Switzerland is lifting its ban on vapor products? In the short term it means that Swiss vapers will have more immediate access to products, and Swiss smokers will have more options to kick smoking with vapor as an alternative. In the longer term, this is one more incremental shift towards accepting vapor as a cessation tool on a global scale.




 

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