On the way to a tobacco- and nicotine-free Switzerland
The Swiss Association for Tobacco Control is the center of competence for tobacco prevention in Switzerland. As an umbrella organization for the promotion of non-smoking, it today comprises over 50 organizational members. AT Switzerland offers its members a broad network of experts and provides expertise on tobacco control and prevention. With evidence-based offers and the networking of the central actors, it is committed to a sustainably healthy and smoke-free Switzerland and at the same time offers the population a hand in quitting smoking and nicotine withdrawal.
An important field of action is the denormalization of the consumption of tobacco and nicotine products. This is because a large part of the population still regards the consumption of lethal tobacco and nicotine products as "normal". Furthermore, the protection of young people is at the center of its work and AT Switzerland would like to encourage smokers on their way to quitting smoking. Finally, AT Switzerland is very concerned to strengthen the protection of the population from passive smoke.
Switzerland: Disposable e-cigarettes with illegal nicotine content
Puff bars: they are new, very strong in dosage, allow hidden consumption and are becoming increasingly popular among young people precisely for these reasons. AT Switzerland has now identified new products of these disposable electronic cigarettes whose nicotine content violates legal regulations and which can also be easily ordered via the Internet without age checks. This is a worrying trend. AT Switzerland is therefore sounding an alert to the federal authorities.
The three puff bars with illegal excessive nicotine content ordered online (Photo: AT Switzerland)
So-called puff bars are becoming increasingly popular among young people, even in schools, and pose a serious public health problem, as they have a very high addictive potential due to the high nicotine content. The fact that they are disposable and throwaway products also raises significant environmental concerns that should be taken into account.
Nicotine concentration too high
According to both current EU standards and the new Swiss law, e-cigarettes should generally not exceed a concentration of 20 mg nicotine per millilitre, which is often indicated as 2% on the packaging. AT Switzerland has identified products marketed in Switzerland with concentrations of 50 mg per millilitre and even 60 mg/ml: this is a problematic violation of the law. A dosage of 20 mg/ml is already considered strong, and over 21 mg/ml is considered very strong. Meanwhile, percentages indicated on the packaging are often inaccurate and ambiguous for consumers.
No age check, no credit card payment, and neutral delivery
On a website based in Geneva that has been running since the beginning of this year, AT Switzerland has acquired three products that violate the law:
|Brand||Nicotine concentration||Price per unit
|Puff XXL||50 mg/ml||15.00|
|Puff Bang XXL||60 mg/ml||20.00|
AT Switzerland placed an order for samples of each of the brands available on the website. There was neither an age nor an identity check. Payment was not to be made by credit card (an element that could be used to verify the age of the buyer) but by a simple bank transfer. We received the products on Monday, 21 February 2022. The products of the three brands clearly show the nicotine content of 5% or 6% on their packaging, as stated on the website, which proves that the pictures on the website correspond to the products offered for sale.
The emergence of more and more of such highly addictive types of products as disposable puff bars and their increasing distribution among children and adolescents is noted with concern by AT Switzerland. We have therefore drawn attention to this problem of the above-mentioned illegal products in a letter to the responsible federal authorities.