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Geneva’s canton toughens its law on vaping

Publié le : 2020-01-24 09:15:04
Catégories : News / Events

Le canton de Genève durcit sa loi sur la vape


We’ve already talked about the new federal legislation that’s ongoing in one of our previous articles. Some cantons, such as the Valais or Basel-Landschaft, decided not to wait for the Federal Council and have already implemented cantonal laws.

In Geneva, the Council of State had tabled a bill (French) on August 29, 2018.
The Grand Council finally adopted it on January 17, 2020.

What’s in this law ?

Basically, the initial purpose of this new law is to protect minors. Something we obviously agree with, e-cigarettes are for adult smokers. It regulates tobacco products, but also products assimilated to it, such as e-cigarettes. And that’s the problem.

The main points are :

  • A ban on giving for free and selling tobacco products or tobacco-related products to minors.
  • A ban on displaying advertising in favour of these products, even in private places if visible from the public domain.
  • Getting a sales authorization for specialized businesses.
  • Introducing test purchases to monitor the proper application of the law.
Le canton de Genève durcit sa loi sur la vape

We were there to make our voices heard

Professionals and associations were mobilized. The Commission in charge of the file interviewed them on October 28 and November 4, 2019.

Le canton de Genève durcit sa loi sur la vape

Isabelle, founder of Sweetch and president of the ARPV (Romande Association of Vape Professionals), made the trip. Among other things, she exposed the following facts :

  • Vape professionals have implemented a code of conduct since 2018 to protect minors, among other things by prohibiting the sale of products to them.
  • The events of recent months in the United States were linked to the consumption of adulterated products bought on the black market. (For more information, check out our article on the subject).
  • Vaping has been around for 10 years and there are around 40 million vapers worldwide. So, apart from when people put adulterated products in their e-cigs, there’s been no deaths or illnesses related to vaping.
  • There’s a big misunderstanding about vaping since there is no tobacco in e-cigarettes. There’s nicotine, but it’s neither harmful at the doses used by the vaper, nor carcinogenic. And, it’s used for smoking cessation purposes.
  • To put it simply, what’s dangerous is the combustion which gives off smoke, carbon monoxide and tar. A non-existent phenomenon with e-cigarettes.
  • The importance of tests in specialized stores when it comes to smoking cessation.
  • The importance of being able to inform the general public about this alternative, which is far less harmful than cigarettes.

You’ll find the report of the hearings here (French).

On January 15, 2020, the ARPV finally sent a letter to the members of the Grand Council, recommending that amendments be made for smoking cessation places, such as specialized vaping shops, with a list of arguments. Find the mail sent here. (French)

Despite this mobilization, the Grand Council decided to adopt the bill as is, without any amendment, on January 17, 2020.

And now ?

This new law means that we must now find solutions to continue giving access to vaping to Geneva’s smokers. E-cigarettes are known as being much less harmful than cigarettes and twice more effective than nicotine substitutes when it comes to smoking cessation.

Professionals are coming up with solutions :

  • Should we go for a referendum knowing that 2% of Geneva's voters will need to sign it ?
  • Do we need to set up smoke-rooms so that customers can test products in stores ?
  • Do customers have to go outside the shops when testing products ?
  • Should products be removed from the windows ?

The solutions exist and we’ll put them in place in order to continue fighting in favour of a risk reduction alternative and to better serve our customers.


A new law bringing e-cigarettes to the same level as traditional cigarettes was recently adopted in Geneva.

Its main objective : the protection of minors. Therefore, it prohibits from giving for free and selling vaping products to minors. We totally agree with this, however it’s also prohibiting vaping in public places and consequently prohibiting tests in specialized stores. Finally, it prohibits advertising, which is a hindrance in being able to inform the general public about the benefits of these products in terms of risk reduction. Vape professionals and associations were mobilized, but unfortunately were not heard.

The fight continues and we’ll do everything to promote products that reduce risks and to better serve our customers !

Thank you for reading.

The Sweetch Team

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