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Ecig Legislation Prompts Snus Challenge

Tobacco Products Directive implementation encourages Snus manufacturer to go to court

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Swedish Match manufactures a range of Snus products that are popular in Norway, Sweden and the United States. For a collection of bizarre reasons, the product is banned in the European Union (EU). It recently announced that the company had begun proceedings in the British High Court of Justice to challenge the EU ban.

Snus developed from dry snuff in the early 18th-century and is a dry-pasteurised moist tobacco product. It is commonly held in a pouch that is placed under the upper lip. Its ban resulted from some studies linking Snus to oral and oesophageal cancers but there have been numerous studies refuting this position.

Swedish Match has applied to the British court to refer the case to the European Court of Justice to challenge the legal grounds for the original ban. Patrik Hildingsson, spokesperson for the company, said: “We are asking the UK court to make a reference to the European Court of Justice on the validity of article 17 in the Tobacco Products Directive. The novelty of snus has been one of the main arguments for not allowing snus on the internal market. That circumstance has now changed.”

Their argument rests on the fact that products like electronic cigarettes are now recognised and legal to be used within the EU region. Clive Bates, an advocate for electronic cigarettes describing the announcement as “good news” said: “This ban is possibly the most absurd and harmful piece of legislation the European Union has ever concocted, and its demise is long overdue. The ban only exists because of posturing by self-indulgent and negligent politicians backed by prohibitionist harm-inducing NGOs.  It has no scientific, ethical or legal justification whatsoever and can only be causing harm to health by denying smokers elsewhere in Europe benign alternatives to smoking that work so well in Sweden.”

Bates postulates that there are ten reasons why he thinks the legal case will be succcesful. Firstly, the strength of the harm reduction argument has gained in Britain. Then there is the growth in the number of experts supporting the lifting of the ban and The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks’ report identifying Snus’ role in harm reduction. Also featuring in the list is the stance adopted by the World Health Organisation arguing for regulation not prohibition. But one of the most damning points: “It is clear that persons close to EU Health Commissioner Dalli were actively soliciting a bribe from Swedish Match to lift the ban on snus. It is disputed whether Dalli resigned or was fired as a result – for our purposes it hardly matters.  The stench around Dalli means we cannot be sure an objective approach was taken in drawing up the Commission proposal.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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