The Finnish Ministry of Health wants to ban all imports of snus. This is clear after the ministry submitted a proposal to the government this week. The goal is a nicotine-free Finland by 2030.
The problem is that more and more Finns are turning to snus and the black market is growing.
"A ridiculous proposal," snus user Jussi Tapio told Swedish Radio.
The Finnish Ministry of Health wants ban all private imports of snus into the country. The proposal is part of the government's goal to make Finland nicotine-free by 2030. The sale and purchase of snus is already prohibited in Finland. But despite the strict rules, 6% of men and 0.6% of women use snus regularly.
Finland's hard line on nicotine
Finland is known as the EU country with the most restrictive policy towards cigarettes, but also alternative nicotine products. This applies in particular to e-cigarettes and various snus products.
Snus was already banned in 1995 when Finland joined the EU. Flavourings in e-liquid, other than what authorities call tobacco flavouringare banned since 2016, as are online sales, and therefore imports, of virtually all road products.
The white snuff regulated as medicines and sold by pharmaceutical companies. Ordinary nicotine pouches, without tobacco and with a nicotine content above 4 mg, can only be brought into the country if the user has a prescription from a doctor.
More people use snus despite the ban
At the same time, the use of both white and traditional snus is increasing in the country. Especially among young people, who by law are not even allowed to possess the products before their 18th birthday. According to the Finnish authorities and also many anti-tobacco groups, sales to young people take place on a large black market via social media. This is now being addressed by tightening import bans.
"It's a ridiculous proposal. It's through the black market that kids get snus today, so why would a ban reduce it?" says the snus user Jussi Tapio to P4 Norrbotten when Swedish radio drew attention to the proposal at a border shop in Haparanda..
"Gives criminals a bigger market"
According to Jussi Tapio criminalisation will only increase organised smuggling from Sweden to Finland.
"It just gives criminals a bigger market. In addition to causing new serious problems, an import ban would probably increase use among young people instead. In addition, the state would lose all the tax revenue that is currently generated by legal imports," said Mr Perez. Jussi Tapio to Swedish Radio P4.
Fewer smokers with snus and e-cigs
According to statistics on smoking-related diseases (such as lung cancer and cardiovascular problems), nearly 5000 Finns annually because of smoking. Currently, almost 13 per cent of the Finnish population smokes. This compares with 6% in Sweden and 9% in Norway where the sale of snus (and in Sweden also e-cigarettes and e-liquid with nicotine) is allowed. I In Sweden, 26 per cent of men use snus, and 9 per cent of women, respectively.