The Swedish government is concerned that various EU countries are introducing total bans on the sale of nicotine pouches. According to Johan Forssell, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, this is as much about the principle of free movement of goods on the market as it is about the fact that certain products have harm-minimising effects on the nicotine market.
"The free market principle of free movement of products is a core value of the Swedish government. Total bans on the sale of certain goods restrict free movement. The government is also concerned that free movement is negatively affected when individual member states introduce total bans." writes Johan Forssell (m) in reply to a question by the chairman of the Committee on Economic Affairs. Tobias Andersson (sd).
"Protecting harm minimising products"
Vejpkollen has previously recognised on several occasions that the concerns of Swedish politicians on the future of white snus in the EU. The topic has become topical since both the WHO and the European Commission have signalled that the products should be regulated according to the the same principles as smoking tobacco. This would mean a ban on flavours and high taxes - or in the worst case scenario - that the products are banned completely (on the same principle as traditional Swedish snus).
The European Commission makes similar arguments about electronic cigarettes - alternatives to smoking tobacco, where flavour and price have played a key role in increasing the attractiveness of cigarettes. According to Tobias Andersson (S&D), it is important that the Swedish government puts its foot down when it comes to nicotine pouches and harm minimisation in general.
"The Sweden Democrats have long realised that Swedish snus has contributed to our public health and has led to Sweden having the lowest tobacco-related mortality rate in the entire EU. Today, there are many more nicotine products that lack the harmful effects of cigarettes, which is why the principle of harm reduction should be safeguarded to a greater extent by the government." says Tobias Andersson to Vejpkollen.
"Actively monitoring the issue"
Minister for Foreign Trade Johan Forssell says the issue is also important for the government.
"The Government actively follows and monitors proposals and negotiations at international and EU level that affect the free movement of white snus and the conditions for global trade in white snus." writes Minister for Enterprise Johan Forsell in his reply to Tobias Andersson and the Swedish Parliament.
Importance of self-determination
However, he adds that all EU countries are largely in charge of their own legislation on nicotine products.
"Individual Member States should have ample opportunity to shape their public health policies according to their own priorities and preferences. It is particularly important to take measures to protect children and young people from the addictive effects of nicotine. The Government's starting point is that the measures taken should be proportionate and aim to protect vulnerable groups such as children and young people."
Cigarettes greater health hazard
At the same time, Johan Forssell argues that harm minimisation measures in tobacco policy should be preserved and refers to the upcoming tax reduction on snus, a measure that will be financed by an increase in the tax on cigarettes.
"Cigarettes and smoking tobacco pose a relatively greater health risk compared to snus. This view is reflected in the taxation of these products in Sweden, a diversification that the government has further strengthened." writes Johan Forssell.