Politicians pledge to defy snus ban

1:58 min

Two years ago Arjeplog council decided all municipal employees must be completely tobacco-free at work, but some politicians are up in arms after the ban was extended to the councillors themselves.

While at work teachers, cleaners, administrative staff and librarians in this far northern area all have to all stay away from cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco - And also, of course, snus. It is a soft Swedish tobacco, sometimes seen as a kind of snuff, but sucked rather than sniffed. It is held under the lip, nowadays in a kind of tiny tea bag.

Local politician Ulf Ottosson from the Center party is upset about the tobacco ban applying to politicians as well. He says to Swedish local Television that he has used snus for 40 years, and that he is not going to stop now. What next? he asks, a dress code?

He adds that politicians, even though they get paid a fee, should be considered volunteers, not employees.

The Center party is the second biggest in Arjeplog. They all abstained when the decision was made to extend the ban to the councillors themselves.

Britta Flinkfeldt-Jansson is in the biggest party, the Social Democrats, and also the chair of the council. She says that the council has decided that it does not want its employees to harm their health with tobacco. But she admits that there are no real penalties that she can bring in against councillors; she cannot say to Ulf Ottosson that they will fine him if he refuse to follow the new ban. But she adds that he may have to expect a bit of tough talk from her. She says that it has to be clear for the public that the council also follows its own decisions.