The anti-snus lobbyists are very active in Brussels, but they still refuse to meet me, or even answer my emails. Yesterday I saw one of them at a seminar, however, so today I just sent them the following email:
Dear Smoke Free Partnership,
It was a pleasure to see your lobbyist (whose name I unfortunately did not catch) at the seminar yesterday on snus and the corruption case against former commissioner Dalli.
However, noticing that you are still actively lobbying against snus reinforced my surprise at the fact that you have not even bothered to respond to any of the invitations to meet and discuss the issue that I have sent you.
When you sent your letter to all MEPs in the Green group, including me, after the resignation of Mr. Dalli last year, I originally assumed that you were prepared to come and present your point of view in case any of us were interested. I have still not understood why this is not the case.
I am a member of the IMCO committee, and I will be working actively on the Tobacco Products Directive, with the aim of ensuring that the principle of evidence-based policy making is applied. In my opinion (which you may or may not agree with) the goal of tobacco regulation should be to reduce the harm caused by tobacco.
As I am sure you are aware, Gartner et al conclude in their article published in The Lancet that:
Current smokers who switch to using snus rather than continuing to smoke can realise substantial health gains. Snus could produce a net benefit to health at the population level if it is adopted in sufficient numbers by inveterate smokers. Relaxing current restrictions on the sale of snus is more likely to produce a net benefit than harm, with the size of the benefit dependent on how many inveterate smokers switch to snus.
It is against this background that I cannot understand your opposition to snus, and would have liked to hear you explain your reasoning.
I am also interested to learn more about your lobby organisation, in particular: To what extent is your organisation financed, directly or inderectly, by the pharmaceutical industry?
I am still very interested in hearing your answers to these questions, and I hope that you will reconsider your current strategy of not even responding to the emails I send you. If you are, after all, prepared to meet me, I shall be more than happy to recieve you in my office at any time convenient to you.
Since your original email was sent to the entire Green group in the European Parliament, I am putting my colleagues in the group in cc.
/Christian Engström MEP
Previous blog posts by me on the subject:
29 October 2012: Open Letter to All Anti-Snus Lobbyists
22 November 2012: Some Scientific Data on Snus
13 December 2012: The Anti-Snus Lobbyists Refuse To Meet Me And Present Facts