The association Helvetic Vape asks to quickly allow the sale of liquids containing nicotine. New law on tobacco products is under study
The fans of the vaping met this Saturday at 10 hours on the Kornhausplatz, Bern, for an event «against the prohibition of nicotine liquids". But they will not be content to walk around the square. Under the umbrella of the Swiss association of electronic cigarette users, Helvetic Vape, they also intend to push the provocation to sell "e-liquids" with nicotine, whose trade is currently prohibited in Switzerland.
In the e-cigarette market, these substances are the nerve of the war: without nicotine, the object has almost no interest for smokers wishing to replace the conventional cigarette with its electronic version, most of consumers.
As a precautionary principle, the effects of these products being still unknown, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has decided that only liquids without nicotine are allowed for sale on Swiss soil. Individuals can import vials with nicotine within a limit of 150 ml per period of 60 days.
It should change soon. The new law on tobacco products proposes to lift this ban on sales in Switzerland. The electronic cigarette would then be treated like the classic cigarette. Federal Councilor Alain Berset is expected to present his message to parliament shortly. Helvetic Vape obviously welcomes this opening. But the association deplores the slowness of the procedure. The bill was introduced a year ago. The consultation was completed last September. Taking into account the parliamentary phase and a transitional period, the law may not come into force before 2019. Much too long, considers Olivier Théraulaz, president of Helvetic Vape.
Especially since the association, strong 350 members, contests the decision of the federal administration to have initially banned the nicotine e-liquid. Currently and for lack of specific legislation, electronic cigarettes are classified as "everyday objects" and not tobacco products. They are therefore subject to the Food and Household Goods Act (LDAI), intended to protect consumers against food and cosmetic products or objects coming into contact with the mucous membranes, such as bottle nipples, which would represent a danger for health. This decision is contrary to Swiss law, says Helvetic Vape, which is based on the legal opinion commissioned at Geneva law firm BRS.
According to this document, nicotine liquids can not fall into the category of usual objects subject to the LDAI. In addition, the Federal Council exceeded its powers by banning nicotine from sale, "otherwise allowed in traditional cigarettes". The government "can not extend the scope of the law that it must implement, nor proscribe behavior or restrict beyond the legal framework of the use of products". The ban has no legal value, concludes the legal opinion.
«The FOPH was very annoyed with the arrival of the electronic cigarette, an unidentified product. It has therefore created an artificial regulation which has no place"Says lawyer Jacques Roulet, BRS.
Helvetic Vape is reinforced in its fight by the fact that the consultation on the bill showed that there were few oppositions to the authorization of sale of the nicotine liquid. The Swiss Lung Association and the prevention community, in general, are in favor of it since electronic cigarettes are subject to the same restrictions as conventional cigarettes (prohibition of minors, in public places, limitation of advertising). "The experts agree on one point: electronic cigarettes containing nicotine are much less harmful than traditional cigarettes," said the FOPH in a report accompanying his draft bill. It refers to a study conducted from September 2013 to February 2014 by the University Medical Polyclinic of Lausanne, the Swiss-Vap Study, for which 40 Swiss experts in smoking prevention were consulted. They agree that the market for e-cigarettes with nicotine needs to be liberalized in Switzerland.
According to lawyer Jacques Roulet, however, attaching this product to the tobacco law and subjecting it to the same regulations as cigarettes does not make more sense than associating them with the LDAI: "Assimilating the e-cigarette to tobacco products hinders its development and leaves the field open for the tobacco industry to gain a foothold in this market"He says.
source : letemps.ch/