“People are jumping to conclusions, we’re only making an analysis at this point,” Pierre Schellekens, Head of Representation at the European Commission in Sweden, told The Local.
He confirmed that the EU directive is something that will come to fruition in several months, and that the commission is merely in the process of assessing the matter.
However, Swedish media has jumped at the possibility that “snus”, or moist snuff, will be banned as a result of it having the same contents as cigarettes. Newspapers are claiming that the directive will lead to the banning of Swedish snuff, something considered to be a cultural heirloom.
Newspaper Aftonbladet featured one snuff manufacturer who believed the end was in sight in light of the directive.
“This means the end for Swedish snuff as we know it today. For us, it affects the whole portfolio, several flavours of which have been around for over 200 years,” said Patrik Hildingsson of the Swedish Match company to the paper.
Schellekens, however, stresses that cigarettes are the main concern for the moment.
“The problem with taste additives in cigarettes, such as with minted cigarettes, is that they are made more attractive to people by the taste,” he said.
“We’re addressing the fact that these additives affect public health. This is what we’re concentrating on.”
Meanwhile, the government plans to fight any proposal against snuff, with the public health minister Maria Larsson, leading the way.
She claims that snuff now has taste extracts rather than additives, as well as alterations to the nicotine content.
“The nicotine content of snuff has been reduced and they have put in taste extracts instead, and it’s really positive that they’ve brought down the content,” she told the TT news agency.
Snus is a moist powder tobacco product, consumed by placing either a pre-packed pouch portion or loose pinch under the lip for extended periods of time.