Brussels plays rough with Swedish snus
Published: 05 Dec 2012 08:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Dec 2012 08:08 GMT+01:00
Swedish moist snuff is once again under threat from a new EU directive, with a new generation of flavoured snus in particular at risk.
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The European Commission wants all tobacco products to contain at least 85 percent tobacco, according to documents obtained by the tabloid Aftonbladet.
However, Swedish snus only contains about 50 percent.
"It shows that they do not object to any potential health risks of snus, just to snus," Swedish MEP Christoffer Fjellner told the TT news agency.
The Commission also outlines that snus cannot have added aromas such as herbs or fruits, which it believes makes the product more attractive to young people.
Many Swedish snus manufacturers have added aromas in recent years. General brand snus has bergamot orange flavouring while Göteborgs Rapé has a taste of juniper berries.
Other new types of snus have been introduced recently which feature different types of mint, liquorice and eucalyptus flavours
While snus manufacturers face stricter guidelines on the European market, cigarette makers are going to have an easier time than they previously thought.
The requirement that they sell cigarettes in uniform packaging without company branding has been removed, after the tobacco lobby reacted furiously to the suggestion, reports daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).
Instead, the commission wants to add more written warnings alongside off-putting pictures illustrating the risk of smoking on up to two thirds of all packets.
The Swedish government were quick to point out this is not the final version of a directive.
"These are rumours. The Commission hasn't taken a decision about a new directive and the Swedish government has not seen one," said Swedish Minister for Children and the Elderly Maria Larsson in a statement.
She is on her way to Brussels to meet Tonio Borg, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy.
"I will, however, be bringing up the Swedish view on this during my meeting with Tonia Borg," Larsson said.