Finland’s New Government Wants to Regulate and Allow the Sale of Nicotine Pouches

22nd Jun 2023

After weeks of negotiations, Finland’s new government has announced its government programme. The coalition government, consisting of the National Coalition Party (centre-right), the Finns Party (right-wing), the Swedish People’s Party (centre) and the Christian Democrats (centre-right), plans to regulate nicotine pouches and align them under the Tobacco Act. With this change, the government seeks to control the sale of nicotine pouches with the objective of preventing use among youths, curtailing grey market imports, and combating illegal trade.

This marks a significant departure from the former government’s stance, which sought to prohibit the sale of nicotine pouches.

New Government’s Nicotine Pouches Regulation Program

The government programme states:

“Nicotine pouches will be included in the scope of the Tobacco Act, and their sale will be permitted considering the provisions stipulated for this. These regulations aim to prevent usage among the youth, grey imports, and illegal trade, as well as counteracting organised crime. Retailing will require a permit, the same nicotine limits as in neighbouring countries will be set, and only flavours targeted at adults will be allowed.

Nicotine pouches and other nicotine products covered by the Tobacco Act, but not subject to excise tax will be subject to the excise tax on tobacco products in applicable parts, in the same way as nicotine liquids for electronic cigarettes. The tax level will be set so that it does not steer consumption away from taxable sales to a too large extent and so that it contributes to reducing the harm caused by smoking.”

Government Embraces Harm Reduction Strategies

Notably, the government’s stance is that the level of tax should be set to “contribute to reducing the harm caused by smoking,” a clear signal from the new government that it embraces harm reduction strategies and measures to decrease the harmful effects of smoking.

Implications for the European Union

This stance by another member state in the EU towards harm reduction could influence the ongoing legislative process in the EU regarding new regulations in this area. Another government advocating harm reduction is something the European Commission must recognize.