KD ahead of EU elections: "Reduce the harm of smoking in the EU"

Strong measures to protect children and young people from nicotine. But clear rules to reduce the harmful effects of smoking in the EU. The Christian Democrats want to see neither a ban on nicotine pouches nor restrictions on flavours in future EU legislation.
"The Christian Democrats have previously voted against flavour bans in e-liquids and nicotine products. We believe it is better that established smokers choose an alternative that is comparatively less harmful." says Alice Teodorescu Måwe, first name on the KD EU list for Vejpkollen

During the upcoming parliamentary term, MEPs will have to decide on a revision of the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The current directive regulates not only cigarettes but also smokeless nicotine in the form of e-cigarettes and e-liquid. In the upcoming revision of the Directive, so-called white snus is also likely to be included in the TPD. This means that the upcoming regulation will affect a large number of Swedes who use nicotine pouches and will affect the entire internal market.

Want to limit the harmful effects of nicotine

Vejpkollen asked. Alice Teodorescu Måwe, first name of The Christian Democrat EU list, what she thinks this regulation should look like in broad terms.

"An evaluation of the tobacco legislation framework is underway at EU level and we are working for a revision of tobacco policy. The Christian Democrats therefore believe that the current snus ban should be lifted, while the common rules should help limit the harm from tobacco and nicotine products, especially in relation to young people. " says Alice Teodorescu Måwe to Vejpkollen.

No to ban on nicotine pouches

According to Alice Teodorescu Måwe European regulation of tobacco and nicotine products should focus on reducing the harmful effects of nicotine use. The biggest challenge at European level, she says, is smoking, not smoke-free behaviour.

"The Christian Democrats therefore reject an EU-wide ban on so-called tobacco-free snus, also known as nicotine pouches or white snus. At the same time, Member States should have great freedom to design their own public health policies, and strong measures to protect children and young people from tobacco and nicotine should be encouraged."

Does not want a ban on flavours

In the preparatory work for the EU Commission (not yet published) The motion proposes to limit the flavouring of both the e-liquid in e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches. 

What would be your position on such a proposal, if it is made?

"We will take a position on the proposal if the European Commission chooses to proceed with it. That said, the Christian Democrats in the Swedish Parliament have previously voted against flavour bans in e-liquids and nicotine products, as we believe that it is better for established smokers to choose an alternative that is comparatively less harmful. We want to emphasise the importance that all regulation should aim to protect children and young people from tobacco and nicotine, and therefore believe that there should be age limits for these products."

Does not want to choose sides

There tend to be two sides to the debate on nicotine, not least in the European arena. One side is totally opposed to that the use of smokeless nicotine is taking its place in the market alongside cigarettes. The other argues that smokeless nicotine products open the door to cigarette sales are being outcompeted bywhat are believed to be, significantly less harmful products. Alice Teodorescu Måwe one does not necessarily exclude the other.

"The Christian Democrats are not in either camp. If smoking is permitted, we believe that it is also logical that smokeless nicotine is permitted. According to available knowledge, smokeless nicotine is less harmful to health. We continue to defend the exemption in EU law that allows snus to be sold on the Swedish market. We and the Government are actively following and monitoring proposals and negotiations at EU level that affect the free movement of white snus and the conditions for global trade in white snus." she told Vejpkollen.

How do you understand the concept of harm minimisation or harm reduction for smokers?

"Cigarettes and smoking tobacco pose a relatively greater health hazard compared to snus. This approach is reflected in the taxation of these products in Sweden, a diversification that the government has further strengthened. However, we are not in favour of harm-reduction thinking. No alternative to cigarettes is needed for people to survive. We want member states to design their own public health policies, with a focus on protecting children and young people from tobacco and nicotine products, and continued work to reduce harm."

How likely do you think it is that your party's line on this issue will be accepted by Parliament?

"There is a fairly good chance that snus will be recognised and understood for its harm reduction potential," says Alice Teodorescu Måwe. 

Seeing a change in Parliament

Although opposition to harm minimisation policies has met with strong opposition in parliament she is positive about the upcoming mandate.

"During this mandate, we have finally been able to gather a majority for the harm minimisation line. It is the centre-right groups that support this line, while the left groups prefer the total ban line. According to many estimates, the right-wing groups will increase in size by the next parliamentary term. In addition, it is important for the Christian Democrats to emphasise the principle of subsidiarity and that the EU should not be given more power than necessary on health issues, and support for this principle looks set to grow stronger in the Parliament in the next term." says Alice Teodorescu Måwe.

Snus is a small issue

At the same time, she believes that the issue of Swedish snus, and its importance for the Nordic countries, is still not a central issue for the MEPs and countries concerned.

The issue of snus is still quite peripheral for non-Swedes in the EU and it is very important that we Swedes continue to fight for snus. While protecting children and young people from tobacco and nicotine and ensuring that the Member States themselves decide on their public health policy, being able to show that we protect children and young people in Sweden is central to our credibility at the European level." says Alice Teodorescu Måwe to Vejpkollen.

Ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections

Vejpkollen will be continuously monitoring the road to the upcoming EU parliamentary elections on 6-9 June 2024. Of course, the monitoring will be done from the perspective of the a user perspective and focuses on issues of nicotine and harm reduction for smokers. Do you have tips on politicians or organisations you want us to take the pulse of? Do not hesitate to contact the editorial team!

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