(S) Ahead of the EU elections: "Banning white snus is the wrong way to go"

The issue of white snus should not be an EU issue, but should be regulated nationally. This is the view of the Socialists ahead of the European Parliament elections. At the same time, they do not want white snus to be banned from sale in the EU.
"Today's unilateral EU ban on Swedish-made snus cannot be justified while other tobacco products can be sold freely. Banning white snus would be the wrong way to go", says Johan Danielsson, second name on the (S&D) list, ahead of the parliamentary elections.

The issue of white snus is engaging Swedish EU politicians. Especially as it has become increasingly clear in recent years that nicotine pouches, which are currently allowed to be sold in most EU countries, are about to be regulated under the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). Leaks from an extensive investigation that EU Commission commissioned reveals that white snus could be subject to heavy taxes and flavour restrictions or even banned from sale in all EU countries.

"While we Socialists believe that there is every reason to be cautious about the consumption of nicotine, tobacco and other addictive substances, I believe that banning white snus would be the wrong way to go." says Johan Danielsson, 2nd name of social democrat list, to the organisation Teachers against Tobacco at a hearing ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections.

"Reasonable restrictions"

He is supported by the first name on the Socialists' EU list, Heléne Fritzon. However, she believes that white snus should be subject to the same strict rules as smoking tobacco in terms of marketing and product information

"The Social Democrats are in favour of a very restrictive approach to nicotine and tobacco advertising. It is reasonable that the same restrictions that apply to the marketing of tobacco products also apply to other nicotine products, including the requirement for warning texts." she adds Teachers against Tobacco.

"Up to Sweden to regulate"

However, both top candidates believe that white snus should primarily be products regulated by individual countries. Not via the EU tobacco directive. Johan Danielsson developed the reasoning when The Snus Commission organisation recently questioned the EU candidates.

"We Social Democrats believe that it should primarily be up to Sweden and other member states to decide on this themselves. If it is to be regulated at EU level, then it is natural to have the same type of regulation as for other tobacco products", says Johan Danielsson in a response to Snus Commission survey.

Each country should decide

To Vejpkollen says Johan Danielsson that Swedish legislation on white snus should not be hampered by the EU.
"Sweden has long had a special exemption for Swedish snus, and we are in favour of smokers being able to switch to snus. But it is also important that EU rules do not prevent Sweden from banning nicotine levels that are too high, for example." says Johan Danielsson.

Doubts about harm minimisation

In Sweden, the Social Democrats as a party have taken a stance critical of harm minimisation for smokers. By 2022, the party chose to propose comprehensive restrictions on flavourings in e-cigarettes and e-liquid. Nothing similar has been proposed for nicotine pouches. At least not yet. But in the preparatory works of the European Commission (not yet published) motion proposes to restrict the flavouring of both the e-liquid in e-cigarettes and nicotine portions. Vejpkollen asked Johan Danielsson What is his position on such a proposal, if it is made?

"We have not seen the proposals yet. But we Social Democrats think it is important that countries have a large degree of national self-determination in these matters. In Sweden, we want to see restrictive legislation, especially for products aimed at young people." says Johan Danielsson to Vejpkollen.

There are usually two sides to the nicotine debate, not least in the European arena: one is totally opposed to the use of smokeless nicotine taking its place on the market alongside cigarettes. The other side argues that smokeless nicotine products open the way for cigarette sales to be outcompeted by what they say are much less harmful products. As a Social Democrat, which camp do you fall into? 

"Same answer as above. We Social Democrats believe that it is important to have a high degree of national self-determination in these matters. Sweden has long had a special exemption for Swedish snus, and we are in favour of smokers being able to switch to snus."

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

"With hard work, nothing is impossible" says Johan Danielsson.

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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