European Commission

An end in sight for Swedish Snus?

Snus is under renewed threat from the EU, reports tabloid Aftonbladet. The Swedish government has long campaigned to get the European Union to legalize snus, a wet snuff tobacco product used mainly in this country. But a new European Commisison tobacco directive coming out in the autumn will contain a list of flavourings in tobacco which will be forbidden.

"This would be the end for Swedish snus," Swedish EU parliamentarian Christopher Fjellner told Aftonbladet.

Swedish snus contains flavourings on the banned list. Swedish health minister Maria Larsson told news agency TT that the government would fight the directive.

Sales of snus are allowed within Sweden under a special dispensation from the EU, but exports to other union countries are banned. Aftonbladet reports that the new directive is seen as a backdoor way of removing this dispensation.

Wet snuff, unlike smoking, is not known to cause lung cancer, which has prompted manufacturers, Swedish politicians, and some doctors to argue that legalizing its use across the EU could prevent more harmful uses of tobacco.

While snus is generally seen as being less harmful and more socially acceptable than cigarettes and smoking, a study by researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Hospital suggests that women who take snus during pregnancy have a 60 percent higher risk of giving birth to a baby who stops breathing than those who do not smoke or use snus.

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