Sweden ‘saves’ moist snuff in EU battle

Sweden 'saves' moist snuff in EU battle
Swedish moist snuff users could breathe a sigh of tobacco-scented relief on Friday after the government announced that a new EU tobacco directive will allow Sweden to continue to determine the product's ingredients and flavour.

“We have saved the snuff,” public health minister Maria Larsson said after Friday’s EU meeting in Luxemburg.

The meeting had been seen as something of a judgement day for moist snuff for which Sweden secured a key EU opt out when it signed up to the union in 1994.

The government had previously given up its fight to allow Sweden to export the smokeless tobacco product across the EU and this new battle was billed as decisive for the future of the product in Sweden.

The EU commission had previously sought to regulate the tobacco content and flavours of moist snuff as part of a new EU tobacco directive designed to restrict use of tobacco products and protect young people.

Maria Larsson welcomed these aspects of the directive.

“Firstly, I am very happy that we have got a new tobacco directive where there is such a strong and broad agreement among European countries to do everything we can to protect children and youth from starting to use tobacco products.”

“And the other thing I’m happy for is that we have actually saved the snuff and may decide the content, product marketing, ingredients and distinctive flavours.”

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.

The new tobacco directive will require more written warnings as well as off-putting pictures to be placed on packaging but the EU has previously retreated from a demand that all cigarettes be sold in uniform packaging.

The directive will now be considered by the European Parliament’s Health and Environment Committee in July, after which the EU Parliament will review it at its session in Strasbourg in September.

Moist snuff manufacturer Swedish Match responded with caution to Friday’s news.

“For us it is a bit early to draw conclusions about what the consequences are. We would like to see the proposal in its entirety before we conduct an analysis,” said communications director Patrik Hildingsson.

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