Christian Engström, Pirat

4 december 2012

EU Commission Refuses to Present Facts Behind Snus Ban

Filed under: demokrati i eu,English,snus — Christian Engström @ 15:28

The European Commission is unable to present any facts to justify the ban on Swedish smoke-free tobacco product snus

Translation of press release from the Swedish Pirate Party:

Christian Engström, member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Pirate Party, has put a written question to the Commission, and asked it what scientific studies the ban on traditional Swedish smoke-free tobacco product snus is based on. The European Commission answers that it is aware of a number of scientific studies, but it will not disclose which ones.

”The Commission refuses to present facts because it doesn’t have any. This strengthens the suspicions that commissioner Dalli, who was forced to resign over the issue, was planning to let he future of snus be determined by bribes,” says Christian Engström.

Snus may currently not be sold in the EU outside Sweden, and the draft for a revised tobacco products directive maintains the ban. According to the EU anti-corruption unit Olaf, this is because snus producer Swedish Match refused to pay a bribe of 60 million euro to former commissioner Dalli to have the ban lifted.

”It is high time that the EU adopted a fact based policy regarding snus,” says Christian Engström.

In an opinion piece in The Parliament magazine last week, Christian Engström demanded that if the Commission is unable to present proper scientific studies to back up the ban on snus, the Commission’s President Mr. Barroso must appoint a senior commissioner to head the health and consumer directorate general (DG Sanco), in order to investigate what has happened under Dalli, and what parts of the draft tobacco products directive need to be revised.


Christian Engström’s question to the Commission:

Question for written answer E-009696/2012
to the Commission
Rule 117

Christian Engström (Verts/ALE)
Subject:  The Tobacco Directive and Swedish oral tobacco (snus)

The recent turmoil surrounding the revision of the Tobacco Directive has highlighted the handling of the issue of Swedish oral tobacco (snus).

1.    Does the Commission agree that the starting point for the Tobacco Directive should be a high level of protection for health, safety, the environment and the consumer, particularly with regard to new developments based on scientific facts, and that health protection should be made a priority in this connection?

2.    Does the Commission agree that the principle of facts-based decision-making should apply across the board, and specifically to the Tobacco Directive?

3.    If so, what studies concerning the health risks of Swedish snus, as compared with other legal tobacco products, underlay the decision on whether Swedish snus should continue to be banned for sale in Member States other than Sweden, or whether its sale should be permitted in the same way that applies to other smoke-free tobacco products and should be regulated in accordance with, for example, the legislation on foodstuffs?

Answer from the Comission:

Answer given by Maroš Šefčovič
on behalf of the Commission

1. The overall goal for the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive is to improve the functioning of the single market while at the same time ensuring a high level of protection for health.

2. The Commission agrees that fact-based decision making is of utmost importance. The impact assessment is a fundamental part of the development of proposals by the Commission – including the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive – in order to assure that EU legislation is based och clear and complete facts.

3. The impact assessment will be published together with the legislative proposal. Regarding scientific findings and oral tobacco the Commission refers to its answer to written question E-004917/20121.

The Commission’s answer to written question E-004917/20121:

Parliamentary questions
27 June 2012
Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission

The Commission foresees to adopt a proposal on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive(1) before the end of 2012. As such, the Commission has not taken a position on how to address oral tobacco (snus) or other smokeless tobacco products in the revision of this directive.

In the context of the impact assessment, the Commission is analysing the health risks posed by tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco. The Commission is aware of a number of studies issued after the 2008 opinion of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks and is analysing existing evidence e.g. on the use of smokeless tobacco in smoking cessation, the relative adverse health effects of smokeless tobacco and smokeless tobacco as a gateway to smoking. The Commission is considering these studies in the context of the impact assessment, which will be published together with the legislative proposal. The Commission is also analysing the economic, social and internal market impacts of various policy options to address smokeless tobacco(2).

(1)    Directive 2001/37/EC, OJ L 194, 18.7.2001, p. 26.
(2)    SEC(2009)92.

7 kommentarer

  1. Is it ”big pharma” lurking in the shadows? If you label snus ”smoke free nicotine” instead, it is easier to see that picture. You know, all those products from ”big pharma” sold as medicinal preparations to help people stop smoking, in the form of everything from chewing gum to adhesive plaster, a million dollar industry.

    Kommentar av steelneck — 5 december 2012 @ 0:59

  2. […] Translation of press release from the Swedish Pirate Party: Christian Engström, member of the European Parliament for the Swedish Pirate Party, has put a written question to the Commission, and asked it what scientific …  […]

    Pingback av EU Commission Refuses to Present Facts Behind Snus Ban ... | Tobacco Harm Reduction | — 5 december 2012 @ 6:32

  3. […] See on […]

    Pingback av EU Commission Refuses to Present Facts Behind Snus Ban … | vapeforlife — 5 december 2012 @ 6:32

  4. The EU’s continuing ban of Swedish snus never had a scientific basis. Regardless, now that the snus ban has been in place, the anti-all-tobacco extremists in Brussels see the removal of the Swedish snus ban from the TPD as a defeat to their cause and will fight it. Protecting Big Pharma is certainly another major reason as is ironically, protecting Big Cigarette which provides huge amounts of tax revenue the EU Member States could ill afford to lose.

    The Snus Ban also represents a slap in the face to Sweden by singling out snus and forbidding the free trade of this iconic Swedish product within the EU. Free trade and travel were among the driving forces for the EU creation in the first place.

    The Swedish Exemption on snus was granted based on the assumption that as long as Swedes could obtain their own snus domestically, the issue within Sweden would never rise to a level which would threaten the TPD. Free trade for all; deadly cigarettes legal in all EU countries, and to hell with Sweden and their rights of free and unrestricted trade as an EU Member Nation.

    The Dalli scandal shines a much brighter light on the hypocracy of the Health Commission and Brussels in general. Now is the best opportunity in years to eliminate the Swedish snus ban from the TPD but will it happen?

    Swedes are not the most vocal or forceful of negotiators and Brussels has taken advantage of that to date; brushing off any serious consideration of lifting the Swedish snus ban based on proven science or the public health.

    Will Sweden keep the issue front and centrer, attack the anti-Swedish snus extremists for what they are, and keep fighting loudly until the Snus Ban is removed from this upcoming TPD….or will they continue to politely to present their very valid and reasoned arguments hoping the EU will act logically?

    If the new TPD is born with the Swedish snus ban still in place, will the Swedish government and their representatives again just say, ”well, we tried.”? Will Sweden and its citizens, snus users and non-snus users, be content with being ignored again; be content with being an afterthought in Brussels; be content with their second class EU citizenship? After all, if Swedes are too tepid to champion their own national product on the EU stage, why should Brussels bother to take Sweden’s interests seriously in any other matter which comes before the EP?

    MEP Engström has the moral if not legal highground in his letter; the typical EU response of ”don’t bother us with facts” answer could also have been expected. The question again is what happens next?

    Will Mr. Engström, the Swedish Government, and the Swedish people push back hard doing whatever it takes to eliminate the Snus Ban? Will they spend diplomatic capital and actively seek out (or drag out) allies to not ”attempt” to eliminate the snus ban, but to kill the snus ban and drive a stake through it’s heart once and for all? Do the Swedish people finally accept that the ban is a bigger issue than Swedish snus; it is defining point for Sweden, their status as an EU Member Nation and the respect this great country is due?

    The Dalli bribery scandal shines a public light on the political, anti-snus extremism, disgusting corruption, and lack of respect for Sweden as a nation for all in the EU to see. This is Sweden’s best chance to reassert their trade rights, national pride, and end the dismissive EU opinion of Sweden once and for all. In my view, Sweden has no choice but to succeed.

    The Health Commission has ordered Denmark to cease domestic sales of snus. Denmark to their credit appears to be offended enough to fight back, despite snus being a fraction of what it is and represents in Sweden.

    If the new TPD maintains the Swedish snus ban, Sweden might as well and go ahead, adopt the Euro and learn to speak French. Another TPD discriminating against Sweden will establish that for all practical purposes, Sweden is the dog under the Brussels dining table, eating whatever scrapes the EU cares to drop on the floor.

    In five or ten years, when the EU orders Sweden to cease domestic sales of snus, there will be no fighting back and no where to run.

    Kommentar av Larry Waters — 5 december 2012 @ 6:45

  5. […] I have put a written question to the commission, asking what scientific data on snus the ban is based on. The commission refused to present any facts behind the snus ban. […]

    Pingback av The Anti-Snus Lobbyists Refuse To Meet Me And Present Facts « Christian Engström, Pirate MEP — 13 december 2012 @ 13:13

  6. I have a question..

    I know it is illegal to sell snus in the EU, but is it possible to produce it in, say spain, and then sell it OUTSIDE the EU to for example the states?

    I make my own snus, I live in Spain, is it anyway to sell it outside spain/eu?

    And one more..

    What is the rules of trading only the tobacco in EU? Because if I can order some snuff, I can make snus at home….


    Kommentar av Dennis — 19 december 2012 @ 14:16

  7. […] när jag har frågat kommissionen om den har något vetenskapligt stöd för snusförbudet, då duckar den och vägrar berätta vad den grundar sitt ställningstagande […]

    Pingback av Bara regeringens flathet hotar snuset i Sverige « Christian Engström, Pirate MEP — 20 december 2012 @ 14:16

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Skapa en gratis webbplats eller blogg på

<span>%d</span> bloggare gillar detta: