Finlande : un pas en arrière pour la santé publique ?

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In a recent proposal, the Finnish government has announced plans to enforce stricter regulations on the sale of nicotine pouches under the revised Tobacco Act. The primary objectives are to deter youth usage and manage the transition from illegal to legal nicotine products. Notably, the proposed measures include capping nicotine content at 16.6 milligrams per gram of product, limiting permitted scents and flavors, and imposing stricter packaging requirements.

Regulatory Overhaul

Under the new regulations, health warnings in both Finnish and Swedish will be mandated on all retail packaging, which must adhere to standardized “plain packaging” guidelines to reduce visual appeal. Moreover, the proposal seeks to eliminate distance selling and impose significant restrictions on the import of nicotine products. The sale, possession, and import of these products to individuals under 18 would be prohibited.

Licensing and Accountability

The sale of nicotine products will require a license for retail operations and a notification system for wholesalers. Manufacturers or importers will be required to register their products with Valvira, the national supervisory authority for welfare and health, providing detailed information that underscores their responsibility for the product’s quality and safety.

Impact on Public Health and Smoking Cessation

At Considerate Pouchers, we view these measures with concern regarding their potential impact on public health, specifically in the realm of smoking cessation. Nicotine pouches, recognized as a less harmful alternative to traditional tobacco products, play a significant role in helping smokers transition away from more harmful habits. The imposition of such stringent regulations could inadvertently make it harder for smokers to access these safer alternatives, potentially locking them into more harmful smoking habits.

A Balanced Approach Needed

While the intent behind protecting young people from nicotine addiction is commendable, the approach risks undermining the potential public health benefits of harm reduction strategies. Effective regulation should prevent underage use and also ensure that adult smokers have access to safer alternatives as part of a broader smoking cessation strategy. A more balanced regulatory framework could foster both public health and consumer choice, ultimately leading to a decrease in smoking rates without unduly restricting access to harm-reduction products. By supporting smokers in their transition to less harmful alternatives, we can achieve a more impactful reduction in tobacco-related harm.

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