Snus Rebellion: "Don't let EU bureaucrats ban white snus"

With a powerful message to Swedish snus users, Snusupproret has quickly gained thousands of followers on Facebook. The aim is to put the issue of nicotine pouches and traditional snus on the map ahead of the European elections.
"Snus should be high on the agenda. We want parties from right to left to take a stand and talk about this. And it seems to be working." says Samuel Lundell, chairman of the Swedish Snus Association, which is behind the Snus Uprising. 

"Many people use snus but don't talk about it. That's why we have started the Snus Rebellion. Because if we don't take our place in the debate, there's a big risk that snus will be a thing of the past. And if politicians don't act, there's a big risk that bureaucrats will succeed in banning snus."

This is one of the messages of the Snus Uprising Facebook page, a campaign launched in March that has attracted 6,000 followers in just three months. According to Samuell Lundell, snus users and Snus users National Association, snus users, whether they use white or traditional snus, need to get involved and stand up for their right to snus. He says that opposition to snus use is strong, especially within the bureaucratic machinery. Both in Sweden and in the EU.

"We need to organise resistance to the current anti-snus policy. The snus tax will be reduced slightly in Sweden, but that is not enough. We can no longer just put our hands in our pockets, we must make our voices heard. Otherwise, there is a great risk that bureaucrats in Brussels will steer policy towards a ban on white snus. Then it goes downhill fast. We must therefore discourage Olle in the gate" says Samuel Lundell to Vejpkollen.

White snus - an EU issue

During the spring, several parties have presented, more or less clearly, different positions how it intends to address the issue of white snus in the EU.

Today, white snus, unlike traditional tobacco snus, is authorised for sale in most EU countries. And after fairly large campaigns, sales and use have increased significantly in several countries in recent years. The round snus can, which was previously only available in Swedish shops, has now taken its place, along with e-cigarettes, as smoke-free alternatives next to the cigarettes in tobacco shops even on the continent.

Inspiration from snus and e-cigs

The nicotine pouch originated in pharmacies - it was originally a pharmaceutical product, tested, patented and launched by the pharmaceutical companies - for smokers who wanted to quit smoking.

This is still how they are used. But today, more than 15 years after the first pouches appeared in pharmacies, tobacco companies are manufacturing and selling the nicotine pouches instead. The main difference is that manufacturers have drawn inspiration from another 'non-official' consumer smoking cessation tool - e-cigarettes. From just mint and fruit flavours, the flavours are now as varied as the candy in a Swedish sweet shop and the nicotine levels are equivalent to traditional Swedish snus or higher. This attracts many smokers, as well as some non-smokers, young and old.

The invention is nevertheless as Swedish as traditional snus and has become a lucrative export in an EU where, on average 25 per cent of the population still smokes (compared to nearly 5 per cent in Sweden). And sales are going really well - unlike the previous, more or less, dutiful sales at pharmacies.

"Wolf in sheep's clothing"

With these developments, competitors in the nicotine market have slowly come to life. After all, both cigarette manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies have interests to protect. It was not long before the aggressive the anti-tobacco movement, which portrays white snus as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" - proclaimed that the nicotine pouch is just another way for tobacco companies to attract new, innocent consumers, non-smoking customers.

"The forces that keep traditional snus banned are the same ones that now want to crack down on white snus." states Samuell Lundell.

But why should a Swede who uses general portion or loose snus and lives in a country where the products are fully available, care about the white snus in the EU?

"I understand if it feels a bit like two different things. But for us, it's about the same principles. Those of us who choose to use nicotine in a relatively safe way should have the right to do so without weird rules or unnecessary restrictions getting in the way. Then it matters less whether you like fruit-flavoured nicotine pouches or General portion. We need to come together and make sure that politicians understand how important this is to us." says Samuel Lundell, who admits that he prefers just the General portion, but also a sweet one-off vejp sometimes.

Bureaucrats drive policy

The snus rebellion was launched in the middle of the the run-up to the European elections. But for Samuell Lundell and the Swedish Snus Association, this is just the beginning of a journey. According to Samuel Lundell the war on snuff will continue even when the new Parliament is in place. And it's not just politicians who are pushing the issues.

"The biggest threat to us snus users is anti-snus lobbyists who are doing everything in their power to eliminate or severely restrict the availability of snus in all forms. This has led to a harmful agenda that favours cigarette sales and ultimately contributes to more deaths from smoking. In Sweden and Norway, where snus is authorised, we are going in a different direction. We are almost smoke-free countries now," says Samuel Lundell.

"Political decisions make a difference"

He says the way forward is through awareness-raising campaigns and conscious organisation of those who actually use the products, regardless of their colour, shape or origin. 

"Politicians are politicians. They can listen to arguments and actually change their minds. Fanatics, on the other hand, are completely unreceptive and will do anything to push for various bans. But it's actually political decisions that make a difference in the end." says Samuel Lundell.

Since the article was published, Snusupproret has ranked the parties according to their policies on snus and nicotine pouches:
Moderates, The Social Democrats and Sweden Democrats gets top marks (5 points out of 5)
Christian Democrats scores very well with 4 out of 5 points.
Green Party gets homework with 2 out of 5 bounties
The Left Party, together with Centre Party receive a parental call when they only manage to scrape together 1 out of a possible 5 tokens.

3 Comments on “Snusupproret: ”Låt inte EU-byråkrater förbjuda det vita snuset”

  1. White snus is no different than other readily-available products like nicotine gum. It helped me get off cigarettes and the lack of flavour vs regular snus was a helper. It's baffling that we don't promote these as a step towards quitting smoking, at least we're getting rid of lung issues and we deal with the nicotine addiction afterwards.

  2. The modern e-cig/vejp was invented by the Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, but there is also a kind of variant manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, the nicotine inhaler, the difference being that it has a low nicotine content and does not produce any vapour. The anti-nicotine and tobacco lobbies don't like the fact that a vejp is actually pleasant and fun to use, hence all the silly bans and restrictions. But in principle, you can use a vejp like a nicotine inhaler, i.e. without blowing visible vapour but with good taste and nicotine strength. Pharmacies sell "medicinal" white snus under the Zonnic brand, the difference being that the nicotine content is lower.

    1. Very important observation. Says a lot about what the whole debate about nicotine, e-cigarettes and all forms of snus is really about.
      By the way. I fly a lot for work and spend a lot of time in waiting rooms, corridors and airport toilets, not to mention hotel rooms (with no smoking and smoke alarms). Weighing pairs all the time... without realising it. The secret is a vejp with low power, high nicotine strength and very low percentage of glycerine in the juice. No vapour, no problems. Regulators basically have ZERO CLUE about the products they regulate, because they never ask users or manufacturers the important questions. On the other hand: they have never been interested in doing so either - because as Micke M writes - there are other interests driving the narrative here and so far the clumsy with easy to sell "prevention model" has won every time. Time to change that, I think.

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