• May 19, 2024

New Hungarian Rules May Backfire

 New Hungarian Rules May Backfire
Image: Tobacco Reporter archive

Proposed amendments to Hungary’s rules on e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches may hinder access to safer alternatives for smokers, according to the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA).

“While it’s important to ensure the safety and proper labeling of nicotine products, it’s equally crucial to avoid excessive regulation that could impede the availability of harm reduction products for smokers looking to transition away from combustible cigarettes,” said WVA Director Michael Landl in a statement.

The proposed amendments, with a maximum nicotine content of 17 mg per consumption unit, reflect an approach that may inadvertently limit the appeal of nicotine pouches to smokers seeking alternatives, according to critics.

“Moreover, the WVA expresses concerns about the potential implications of the draft decree’s proposed modifications to vaping product regulations,” the organization wrote. “The amendments, which target unit packet definitions, nicotine amounts and labeling requirements, could impose unwarranted restrictions on vaping products. While addressing health concerns is important, the proposed changes should be carefully evaluated to ensure they do not deter smokers from adopting less harmful alternatives.”

Whilst health and safety standards are crucial, regulations should be crafted with a balanced approach that considers both consumer health and the potential of these products to save lives, according to Landl. 

“We encourage the Hungarian government to start accepting reality: harm reduction works. This year, Sweden is becoming the first smoke-free country due to a consumer-friendly harm reduction approach,” he said. “It is high time to learn from the Swedish experience and thereby save thousands of Hungarian lives. With a smart harm reduction approach, Hungary can become smoke-free.”