Snus Appeal Letter

Posted 14th June 2017 by Dave Cross
While vapers might feel aggrieved at the restrictions placed on vaping by the Tobacco Products Directive, the treatment of vape products is almost lenient when compared to the draconian banning of snus. A group of respected harm reduction experts has written to Mr. Frans Timmerman, the EU’s Commissioner for Better Regulation.

The group asking for common sense and reason includes:

  • Professor Tony Axéll
  • Clive D Bates
  • Professor Frank Baeyens
  • Professor Ron Borland
  • Professor John Britton
  • Professor Jean François Etter
  • Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, M.D.
  • Associate Professor Coral Gartner
  • Dr. Ernest Groman
  • Professor Peter Hajek
  • Professor Lynn T. Kozlowski
  • Professor Dr Michael Kunze
  • Dr Jacques Le Houezec
  • Dr Karl Erik Lund
  • Professor Bernd Mayer
  • Professor Riccardo Polosa, MD,
  • Dr Lars Ramström
  • David Sweanor JD

They write: “Given your professional mandate and your personal commitment to better regulation in the European Union, we write to draw your attention to one of the worst examples of EU regulation ever made. This is the ban on oral tobacco, known as ‘snus’, as implemented in the revised Tobacco Products Directive, 2014/40/EU.”

The group argue that the ban not only “harms the health of EU citizens”, but it also supports the tobacco industry and “violates key principles of the treaties and the EU objectives for better regulation.” They list the key principles being breached:

  • Decision-making is open and transparent
  • Citizens and stakeholders can contribute throughout the policy and law-making process
  • EU actions are based on evidence and understanding of the impacts
  • Regulatory burdens on businesses, citizens or public administrations are kept to a minimum

The letter comes at the same time as Swedish Match, a producer of snus, and the New Nicotine Alliance are mounting legal action. In it, the group request that snus is treated no differently than any other smokeless tobacco product on the market. The major difference is that snus is widely accepted as helping Sweden hit record lows in adult smoking, rates to be envied across mainland Europe.

Cuts Ice

The group point out that banning snus is disproportionate, given the legality of other smoke-free products. As such, it discriminates against snus and its manufacturers, and in favour of tobacco companies. They highlight the closed nature of the banning process, ignoring scientific evidence and disregarding the opinions of EU citizens.

“We believe this is the appropriate moment to reset the European Union policy on oral tobacco in line with evidence, ethics, and law. In the first instance, this means replacing a disproportionate and discriminatory prohibition by lifting the ban on snus and treating this product in the same way as other smokeless tobaccos. In the longer term, it means creating a system of product standards that apply to smokeless tobacco products, as advised by WHO’s expert committee.”


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker
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