Finland – Regulation?


The Ministry of Health is planning: electronic cigarettes to be sold in stores

E-cigarettes can be purchased in a store in the same way as cigarettes, if the amendment to the law, prepared by the Ministry of Health, becomes a reality. Similarly, buying e-cigarettes online is considered to be prohibited.

The sales of e-cigarettes containing nicotine may be allowed in the future and their purchase via the internet, in turn, may be banned. In practice, this would mean that e-cigarettes would be purchased in the same way as cigarettes.

The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs prepared a change to the Tobacco Act based on the EU tobacco directive adopted last year. The changes regarding e-cigarettes can be big. Involved in the preparation of the Act, Ministerial Adviser Meri Paavola, says that Finland may be forced to allow the sale of nicotine containing e-cigarettes without a medical license.

It is legally unclear whether e-cigarettes can be regulated under the pharmaceutical legislation any longer. Finland supported the regulation of e-cigarettes as a pharmaceutical product but the European Parliament was opposed. It was big threshold issue to Parliament, Paavola says.

“A perfect solution doesn’t exist, but now we are trying to look for the best one.”
– Meri Paavola

In the end, it was concluded that e-cigarettes containing less than 20 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter were to be regulated by the Tobacco Products Directive.

At the moment, e-cigarette products containing nicotine may not be sold without a medical permit in Finland. However, they can be ordered through the internet with some restrictions. According to Paavola, the online sales of e-cigarettes containing nicotine may be prohibited if e-cigarettes are to be covered by the Tobacco Act.

It is possible within the framework of the Directive and a possible strategy. Similarly, it is considered that e-cigarettes would become subject to taxation.

“To some extent, may have a good effect”

Paavola says that the preparation of the law change is difficult, because e-cigarettes are associated with a number of different legislative sectors.
There is still little information about the advantages and disadvantages about e-cigarettes, even if the indication is that they have adverse health

For example, studies on e-cigarette liquid composition can not be generalized, as they may vary by the package. E-cigarette products do not necessarily have any information leaflets.

It seems strange at this day and age. To some extent, (liberalization of sales) may have a good effect. The sales of e-cigarette products can be
controlled more precisely as well as age restrictions, packaging and contents of the fluid, Paavola lists.

Paavola says the biggest worry is the fact that e-cigarettes could be a new avenue of nicotine addiction to children and young people . THL (the Institute of Health and Welfare) carried out a survey in 2013. It showed that five percent of the children in secondary school used e-cigarettes, more than the adult population on average.

A perfect solution doesn’t exist, but now we are trying to look for the best one. We look forward to the results of a new youth health survey about the use of e-cigarettes, says Paavola.

Social Welfare and the Ministry of Health aims to outline the draft law for comments in July. The law should come into force next year.

What is considered?

E-cigarette sales :

In the new law e-cigarettes may be covered by the Tobacco Act. Thus the sales of e-cigarettes containing nicotine up to 20 mg / ml may be allowed.
E-cigarette products purchasing age limit would be 18 years, as is currently the Tobacco Act 18-year age limit does not apply to e-cigarette device or the purchase of liquid. E-cigarette online sales may in turn be banned.

Advertising and packaging:

the EU directive states that health hazard warnings must be on the e-cigarette packs and e-cigarette advertising is limited. E-cigarette advertising is banned in Finland at present. Advertising ban, however, is bypassed so that advertising for the Finnish consumers is made from abroad, in which case the possibilities of intervention by Valvira (overseeing agency) are limited.


The Ministry is considering whether, flavors pleasing young people, for example, candy or chocolate, could be banned.


Many thanks to Jukka Kelovuori for  translating this article which originally appeared here:

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