New Nicotine Alliance Hoping For EU Legal U-Turn On Snus
Campaigners looking to legalize the use of Snus across the whole of Europe will have to wait until the autumn for a decision by the European Court of Justice.
As it stands at the moment Snus can only be used legally in Sweden however advocacy group the New Nicotine Alliance believe such is the harm reduction potential of the product it should be legally available across Europe.
Snus is moist smokeless tobacco that looks similar to snuff and according to Wikipedia is made up of tobacco – salt and sodium carbonate – many scientists say it is up to 99% safer than smoking.
The majority of users place tiny little pouches – that look like teabags – under their upper lip to receive a slow dose of nicotine.
Anyone who’s watched the recent spate of excellent ‘Scandi Dramas‘ may have seen them in use.
Sweden was able to negotiate an exemption from the ban back in 1995 when it joined the EU and since then the country has seen smoking rates plummet from 50% of the population in the 60’s to just 5% today – the lowest rates in Europe.
However at a hearing at the European Court of Justice last week European Union lawyers – with support from both the UK and Norwegian Governments – argued the use of Snus in Sweden had absolutely ‘nothing to do with‘ the dramatic fall in smoking rates claiming ‘healthier living‘ was the main reason!
Quite a bizarre statement and both scientists and experts agree it is!
Smoking Rates Tumble Where Snus Is Used
Renowned authority in the field of e-cigarettes and health – Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos – said:
There is absolutely no doubt that access to Snus in Sweden and Norway has played a crucial role in the rapid reduction of their smoking rates.
This is backed by recent figures released by the Norwegian government – where Snus is regularly used 😉 – that show smoking rates there has fallen by 50% in the last decade with Snus users overtaking smokers and rising to 12% of the population.
Indeed back in 2017 an academic study found that a staggering 355,000 lives could have been saved in just one year had the EU’s smoking rates fallen to the same levels as those in Sweden.
However and as usual the European Union were playing hardball and at times during the hearing it might have looked as if they were living in some kind of cloud cuckoo land with one lawyer suggesting Sweden’s dramatic fall in smoking rates was not only due to this apparent ‘healthier lifestyle‘ choice but because of:
…high levels of parental leave for men.
This they argued meant men were less likely to smoke given they were around children a lot more!
Hardly a Perry Mason moment…
European Court of Justice Decision Expected In Autumn This Year
The ECJ will now consider the evidence and are expected to give a final decision on the case – which incidentally was begun by Snus company Swedish Match back in 2016 – in September or October this year.
After the hearing NNA Chairman Professor Gerry Stimson said:
Snus has been the gateway out of smoking for both Sweden and Norway which has led to vastly better health outcomes.
It is disappointing that while the UK government has shifted from opposing e-cigarettes to being an enthusiastic supporter, it has still not changed its mind on the EU snus ban which it was pivotal in instigating.
BTW if you’re wondering why an e-cigarette site such as ours is interested in what may seem a tenuous link to vaping – consider this.
If the NNA and Swedish Match are successful in this court case it becomes powerful ammunition for the NNA’s next target which is the TPD and the stranglehold that has on the current legislation surrounding vaping.
Judges like to see precedents when it comes to making rulings in court cases – and if the battle to legalize Snus Euro wide is successful and the team prove it’s a safe alternative to smoking and a successful harm reduction tool – then they have a strong platform to take the EU on again regarding e-cigarettes and their inclusion in the TPD.
As always we’ll keep you informed of any fresh developments.
BTW for more information on Snus and the legal case the NNA has produced a very clear and concise timeline of events and you can find that HERE.
Further reading: SNUS Facts by the NNA