• Sweden's news in English

Sweden holds firm on EU snus fight

TT/The Local/pvs · 1 Aug 2011, 11:56

Published: 01 Aug 2011 11:56 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Sweden is the only country with an exemption for the sale and marketing of snus and the country has long battled for the EU wide ban to be lifted.

A recent survey of member state opinion conducted by the EU Commission indicates however that Sweden has little support among its European partners.

"Many people don't know what snus is. This is also a result of the fact that there is a ban on the export of Swedish snus," Swedish trade minister Ewa Björling told the TT news agency.

Björling has received the support of tobacco giant Swedish Match which argues that the greatest hindrance to lifting the ban is ignorance of the product itself.

"If the Commission would look at the scientific documentation concerning snus and if you follow EU principles regarding, for example, freedom of movement, then we find it very hard to see that the snus ban would survive," said Patrik Hildingsson, information director at Swedish Match.

Sweden's National Institute of Public Health (Folkhälsöinstitutet) warns however that scrapping the ban could affect both attitudes to snuff and increase the use of snus, a product that it argues offers only adverse health effects.

"Based on the knowledge that exists about health risks and dependence, we think it should be limited, but ultimately it is politicians who decide," said Åsa Domeij, who heads the institute's drug prevention unit.

Not all member states have responded to the survey conducted by the European Commission, but of those who have there is a clear majority in favour of a blanket ban on all types of smokeless tobacco.

Story continues below…

This fact has however not given Ewa Björling cause to give up hope that Italians and other EU members will gain the right to buy snus in their home countries.

"This is not decided and we will continue to fight. I'm not going to give up because I think this ban is unfair," she said.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:30 August 1, 2011 by Abe L
Though I could personally care less about snus or any tobacco product, it's good to see Sweden show some spine for a change.
12:36 August 1, 2011 by Rap43
It is always interesting to me that they claim snus should be banned because it only offers "adverse health effects"... the same applies to other tobacco products, alcohol and any number of food products (sugar for example), but they are allowed to move... curious.
12:37 August 1, 2011 by conboy
Ah yes yet again a blow has been struck for Swedish national integrity in the eyeof the multi-cultural storm!
12:54 August 1, 2011 by jacquelinee
Just what we need.. Disgusting snus bags stuck to the streets all over Europe as well as Sweden. People horcking and spiiting their putrid snus juice all over not to mention more instances of cancers in the mouthand throat. But, of course, when you have a medical system like Sweden does, where only the squeeky clean positive figures are ever documented or distributed and any statistics or studies that may paint Sweden in a bad light are avoided, ignored or buried, it is not surprising that Sweden would say snus is perfectly healthy

Thank goodness the EU is not as brainwashed bunch of lemmings as they are here.
13:00 August 1, 2011 by stupr
"Björling has received the support of tobacco giant Swedish Match..."

Really? A tabacco company that could stand to profit from the ban being lifted is in support........ hmmm.
13:06 August 1, 2011 by zircon
Or do you mean ban on snuff movies? (Movie 8mm with Nicolas Cage)
13:28 August 1, 2011 by matona1
smelly punch in your mouth ,very disgusting habit ,why would you put a pillow of tobaco in your mouth
13:44 August 1, 2011 by JulieLou40
My sambo uses the loose snus, which is even more revolting than the bags. It stinks, makes his teeth yellow and his breath stink. I think the EU are a bunch of interfering so-and-sos, but I have to say-on this I support them fully and wish the vile stuff was just outlawed!!!
13:49 August 1, 2011 by Streja
I agree with Jacqueline and Juliet. Snus is discusting and I don't see why we should export it. It is a bit of a double standard though that cigs are tolerated in the EU. Ban all of it!
14:30 August 1, 2011 by jacquelinee

For once we agree 100% I smoked years ago and quit for my health. I now live in an apt. and the man above me chain smokes all day from 11 am to 3 or 4 am. It seeps in through my vents, my closets, pours in my windows when he sits on his balcony. It has been like this for 3 years. I work from home and there are days I actually get physically ill from it. It makes my life a misery, it really does. He watches tv and chain smokes in bed right above my bedroom (I hope he does not drink too, smoking and drinking in bed are scary) My bedroom smells like closing time at the bar when people use to be able to smoke there. I have to keep my windows open in midwinter and it is freezing in my place then all the time. Even my poor dog throws up on mornings when it was particularily bad the night before. It is horrible and I have no recourse by law.

I have spoken to him several times (very politely too) asking if he would not mind opeing his window a bit when he smokes weather permitting and if it is not too cold. But it remains the same. I bought my apt. first and do not want to have to move. I understand that he has a right to smoke in his own home, but I also have a right not too smoke in mine (and he takes my right away) and a right not to have my own health in danger from second hand smoke which is equally as dangerous as actually smoking. But there are no laws, so I am Scr - wed.

I wish cigarettes would be banned as well (I know I am offending the smokers)

When I smoked it was 3-4 cigarettes a day. Not a lot and I DID enjoy it a lot too. I will not lie. But it is SO bad for your health that I quit. I felt 100% better in no time at all. My sense of smell and taste improved. I quit coughing in the morning, my headaches and lethargy went a away quite a bit. then my neighbour moved in. I am sure I am smoking at least 20 cigaetttes a day by default now. I cough like crazy every morning. I feel sick in my own home most of the time. I am depressed. And I have no rights under the law.

Sorry smokers. I respect your right to smoke, but I hate that (like this case) so many of you do not respect my right not to.

Streja - I am with you on this one. We would have a healthier country and less strain on the already stretched medical system if smoking were banned.
15:03 August 1, 2011 by Streja
Someone in Iceland suggested cigarettes on recipe so you'd need to see the doctor to get them. I think that might work there as they are more isolated as a country. They have no land borders for instance.
17:18 August 1, 2011 by capheda
When Sweden legalizes cannabis, then let the rest of the EU tolerate snus.
22:06 August 1, 2011 by eurobloke
Streja, the word you are looking for is "on prescription".

Personally I actually support this, even thought I am a massive anti-smoker. I see this as a way to curb cigarette smokers into snus takers and eventual probation on tobacco as is being talked about by the EU.
22:43 August 1, 2011 by play nice
Originally, the Rx was a "recipe" for the pharmacy to follow to prepare a medication.
22:47 August 1, 2011 by Streja
Ooops! Swenglish.... :) I of course meant prescription.
03:57 August 2, 2011 by darkrealm
Here in the UK I can go to a local tobacco store and purchase dry nasal snuff, if i were to add a little water put in a flat round can and instruct folks to take a pinch and put in under the lip that would be illegal.

but hang on I can buy chewing tobacco here legally, but if ground it into a fine cut and pinched it and put under my lip that is my choice, but if put that into a tin and tried to sell it that would be illegal.

hang on, if I get makla which looks feels and smells just like snus, and is pinched and put under the lip that is legal as it is not called snus. You can purchase here in King Cross.

The indian community here take a highly cancerous form of tobacco put it under their lip and spit red juice everywhere, that is legal although they now get fined for spitting in the high street.

Snus is the only thing that keeps me from smoking cigarettes. The EU ban is a hypocritical unjust ban and the current review of the EU Tobacco Directive may lift the ban completely or ban all forms of smokeless tobacco. Sweden will be safe as it has a permanent exemption from the EU ban.

So worst case scenario I will ryan air to Göteborg for £35 return fill my bag with 100 cans and do that every few months.
08:58 August 2, 2011 by HYBRED
This has nothing to do with health. The Swedish government does not want to give up a source of tax money. The main goal of the government is to suck as many kronor out of everyone they can. It doesn't matter whether it is unhealthy products like snus and cigarettes, gambling, or holding a gun to your head to buy a television license.
12:30 August 2, 2011 by diegoveggie
snus! really?! its a disgusting habit, the little tobacco, cancer producing pouches are always found all over the sidewalks, all around town. plus it gives people bad breath, and bad teeth. however you see it, its a stupid, useless habit. except for the ones that benefit. tobacco company/tax revenue
13:34 August 2, 2011 by rumple123k
In light of the comments about 'look at the available scientific data", will Sweden any day be legalising Cannabis?
16:41 August 2, 2011 by soultraveler3
I'm 100% with Streja , jacquelinee and JulieLou40 on this.

Snus is disgusting, bad for you and there's ton of snus packets and loose snus spit all over the place in every Swedish town. The EU should not lift the ban on snus and it should be made illegal along with cigarettes. So many people smoke and snus here, it's horrible, you can't even walk around town without seeing literally 100s of butts, used packets and piles of black spit.

We, like jacquelinee, have a problem with others' smoke constantly coming into out apartment. There's smokers in both apartments underneath us as well as on the side of us. You can smell the smoke through the drains and ventilation and we have to open and close our windows and balcony doors all day long because someone is almost always lighting up. It sucks not to be able to enjoy fresh air or have your doors and windows open, especially in the summer.

They should ban all tobacco products. Those comparing smoking or snus to sugar, alcohol and fat, tv, etc. are being illogical.

Those things don't hurt anyone else besides the one consuming it, not in the same way that tobacco does. You could argue that hurts tax payers who end up paying for the problems of the obese or alcoholic, but smokers end up costing as well. You can sit or live next to an obese person or an alcoholic and 99.9% of the time it won't directly affect you.

The same can not be said for someone living or or sitting in the vicinity of a smoker, you will be forced to inhale their smoke, you will stink and if you have allergies or sensitivities you will feel sick.
17:10 August 2, 2011 by swe-usa
I find that a majority of the swedish people who regularly enjoy snus, in fact, do not spit. Instead, they swallow the juice. This is a big difference when compared to the american chewer. As for the white or brown packets that the snus is contained by, a possible consideration would be to research how to make these packets dissolve rather quickly. Regardless, people should chew if they so please. Furthermore, it is absolute crap that the EU allows movement of cigarettes, but not swedish snus.
10:49 August 5, 2011 by darkrealm
Whether you agree with Snus or Not, the Swedish Governments argument is that Snus sales are restricted yet similar smokeless tobacco products are freely traded in the EU. This is discrimination.


you said " Those comparing smoking or snus to sugar, alcohol and fat, tv, etc. are being illogical. "

Why is that illogical. tobacco is used recreationally or habitually , it is a stimulant, it is addictive and is not harmless

Alcohol is used recreationally or habitually, it is a stimulant and is also addictive and it not harmless.

Snus is less harmful than Alcohol. In most of Europe goto any A&E of any hospital in a major town at the weekend and most of the casualties are there because of alcohol related incidents.

You never see a patient there because they had too much snus and got into a fight or fell down a hole, or blacked out and did something they regret.

And where do you get the black spit impression from Snusers don't spit juice.

On my last visit to Stockholm I did see a few discarded snus pouches but not many considering 1 in 10 people use snus but I did see many chewing gum staines on the footways.

After reading all the comments in this thread, nobody has provided a single valid argument why Snus sales are restricted in the EU.
10:00 August 6, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

So you think that tobacco is not harmless? Well, well, well.

To all the smokers, non smokers and ex-smokers, let me tell you something about the harmless tobacco:

Every time you inhale, you are inhaling arsenic, benzene, cadmium, hydrogen cyanide, lead, mercury and phenol. In total, about four thousand dangerous chemical substances, including 44 types of poison, of which 43 are tested substances that cause cancer.

You want more? O.K. You asked for it:

And this you will find in your cigarettes: formaldehyde, used for embalming dead bodies; toluene, an ingredient in the paintings of solvent; acetone, the remover of the enamel for nails and ammonia, which scientists have discovered that allows you to absorb more nicotine, which makes you addicted to smoking.


Well, here I go:

Smokers are 10 times more likely to have lung cancer, three times more likely to suffer a stroke and twice more likely to suffer a heart attack. Smoking can cause head pain, blood vessels diseases, oral cancer, digestive problems, throat disease and blindness. Nothing less and perhaps much more


Tobacco causes more deaths than the ones caused by all wars during the last hundred years, including the WWI and WWII; more than three million people die each year as result of smoking. Nicotine is a natural insecticide. Plants such as tomato, produce it on their leaves to discourage insects who want to eat tomatoes.

Now, anybody around here has a cigarrette? I need a good puff.
15:41 August 7, 2011 by Svensksmith
I'm all for snus suppositories. Tuck the little pouch in and away you go.
Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available