Half of Slovenian vapers would resort to smoking or the black market if flavours were banned

Alastair Cohen
Alastair Cohen
March 21, 2024
3 min read
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Half of Slovenian vapers would resort to smoking or the black market if flavours were banned.

A flavour ban would put vapers in Slovenia at risk by pushing them towards smoking, the black market, or making their own e-liquids, according to a new IPSOS survey.

The survey was financed by the Tholos Foundation following plans by the Slovenian Government to ban flavours in vaping products, alongside a range of anti-smoking measures.

In a statement, the Slovenian Health Minister - Valentina Prevolnik - argued that there was “mounting research showing that among adolescents who otherwise do not smoke, the use of electronic cigarettes raises the likelihood of them starting to smoke regular cigarettes by up to four times”.

Prevolnik did not provide any evidence for the figures she gave, which are highly contested by many in public health. Action on Smoking and Health sharply contradicted the Minister’s statement, noting that “there is no evidence that significant numbers of non-smokers are experimenting with e-cigarettes and subsequently becoming smokers”.

In response, the Vapers Association of Slovenia (ZVS) said that the proposed law “does practically nothing to protect children and adolescents from nicotine addiction, as the restrictive policy will allow a flourishing black market that will both children and exposed users to unregulated and dangerous products”.

ZVS President Slaven Kalebic added his personal story. “As a former smoker who smoked 40 cigarettes a day, vaping offered me a path to take in the fight against nicotine addiction. Since switching to e-cigarettes, I have noticed a significant improvement in lung function and overall health, which my doctor has confirmed.

Slovenia already has a tax of €0,18 per ml of liquid, one of the highest in Central and Eastern Europe. Around 22% of Slovenians smoke cigarettes.

78% of vapers surveyed said flavours were either important or very important in their decision to vape instead of smoke, substantiating the claim that many would make the decision to smoke again were flavours to be banned. Around half of vapers use flavours that would be banned under the new law, which covers everything other than tobacco and mint flavours.

Overall, 73% believed that the government should support less harmful alternatives to smoking, a responses that has been mirrored in many EU countries based on an analysis of the recent EU consultation on tobacco control undertaken by Clearing the Air. The key results from each EU Member State are available as infographics in our Members area.

The IPSOS data for Slovenia mirrors the results of similar studies undertaken in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. In Germany, 86% of vapers thought that a flavour ban would push vapers back to smoking.

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