Christian Engström, Pirat

13 december 2012

The Anti-Snus Lobbyists Refuse To Meet Me And Present Facts

Filed under: demokrati i eu,English,snus — Christian Engström @ 13:12

The lobbyists refuse to give any reasons for their opposition to the smoke free product snus, which has helped many Swedes to stop smoking

There are several lobby organisations that are working very actively in Brussels to maintain the EU ban on the Swedish smoke-free tobacco product snus. I have made several attempts to get in contact with them, to give them a chance to present what facts and scientific studies (if any) they are basing the opposition to snus on. Unfortunately, they all refuse to meet with me, and none of them has even tried to answer my question about scientific grounds for their position.

I am very surprised at their refusal to even talk to me. I have made it very clear to them that I am taking an interest in the snus issue, and I am a member of the committee for internal market and consumer protection IMCO, which will be one of the key parliamentary committees for this directive. Yet the lobbyists neither want to meet me nor send me any written material to answer my question.

I can only interpret their refusal as an admission that they don’t actually have any scientific basis for their opposition to snus, but are driven by other motives.

Next Tuesday, December 18, the commission will present the revision of the tobacco products directive. This is the directive that former health commissioner Dalli was responsible for, before he had to resign after having tried to solicit a 60 million euro bribe from a Swedish snus manufacturer, in return for lifting the ban on snus. The Swedish company refused to pay the bribe, and instead reported the matter to the EU anti-corruption bureau Olaf, which led to commissioner Dalli’s resignation.

But the directive that will be presented next week still maintains the ban on snus.

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.

I have written an open letter to all anti-snus lobbyists, asking the same question. Three weeks ago, when I had received no reply, I emailed an invitation to come and meet me to the following three anti-snus organisations:

I received the following answer from ENSP:

Dear MEP Engström,

We thank you very much for your invitation. Unfortunately it is not possible for us to answer positively.

Best regards,


No explanation as to why, just a flat no.

The other two anti-snus organisations have not bothered to respond at all.

As I said, I find it truly remarkable that the anti-snus lobbyists are refusing to meet me. I have discussed this with colleagues who have served as MEPs longer than I have, and none of them have ever experienced lobbyists not wanting to meet them. Normally in the European parliament, lobbyists are very eager to spend as much time as possible with any MEP that is even remotely interested in whatever issue the lobbyists are pushing.

But not the anti-snus lobby, when they are challenged to present facts.

I think that EU policy in all areas, but especially when it comes to public health and safety, should be based on facts and science, not on corruption and bribes.

But it appears that the forces who oppose snus disagree.

5 kommentarer

  1. Maybe you should enlist the help of other MEP’s who will be sympathetic to your cause. UKIP’s Nigel Farage?

    Kommentar av Parmenion — 13 december 2012 @ 13:35

  2. Nils Torvalds should also be an ally regarding the snus issue, if he wants to keep his job that is.. A removal of the snus ban is a very important question to many swedish speaking finns and we are the ones voting for him.. Keep up the good work!

    Kommentar av Fredrik — 13 december 2012 @ 13:55

  3. Antingen är de här lobbyisterna betalda av tillverkare av nikotintuggummi, nikotinplåster och andra rökavvänjningsprodukter, som inte har några belägg för att deras produkter är bättre än snus för rökavvänjning, eller så är de betalda av tobaksbolag som inte vill ha fler konkurrerande tobaksprodukter på marknaden.

    (Jag iddes inte slå upp alla orden jag skulle ha behövt för att skriva den här kommentaren på engelska.)

    Kommentar av Björn Persson — 13 december 2012 @ 17:13

  4. […] och med de lobbyorganisationer som arbetar mot snus vägrar komma till vårt kontor för att lägga fram sin sak, trots att jag har bjudit in dem. De är däremot intresserade av att styra lagstiftningen för 500 […]

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

  5. I just sent a mail to both ENSP and SFP, telling them I’m very disappointed that they havn’t talked to you Christian. I have nothing to do with the organisations – but damn it, there should be some scientific data – and if there isn’t, well – I guess it’s only their opinion that tobacco products are bad.

    Kommentar av Erik — 28 december 2012 @ 19:36

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