- Translation from Swedish
“CEO of Swedish Match looks positively on the snus challenge in the EU court trial”
When the snus issue is now being tried in the EU with a new tobacco directive, Swedish Match looks positive on the situation. A final decision on this issue can be expected around midsummer
In January this year there was a hearing in the European Court of Justice. According to the new Tobacco Directive from 2014, it has opened up new tobacco products in the Union, unlike the old 2004 directive.
“New products like e-cigarettes have now been allowed,” says Lars Dahlgren, who believes that Swedish Match has strong legal arguments for the approval of snus in the EU, supported by research. He says at the same time it is difficult to estimate how the sentence may “unfortunately” be affected by the “political dimension” of the snus issue.
In Norway, in November 2017, Swedish Match lost a review of legislation regarding unified snus packaging. The company has appealed against the judgment from the first instance.
The moving EU market has already launched Swedish Match, known as “chew bags” in Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
“The Chew bag market shows a very good growth. Nielsen data shows growth of almost 40 percent in Denmark last year, after just over 40 percent the year before.” It’s huge growth but low base, “says CEO.
Chew bags are still “very good in Germany”, he adds. Touching additional markets – in addition to the aforementioned four – he indicates that chew bags are in Switzerland for a few weeks and that the company is looking at opportunities in more countries. It is also “likely” that the company launches this product in additional markets, “says Lars Dahlgren.
Translation from Swedish
New position after Swedish match about snus in the EU
Published January 25, 2018 at 17.20
Better mode than before – but still a difficult challenge.
That is how you can summarize the last round of the European Court of Justice about Swedish snus exports.
“There was a curiosity from the judges and the questions were relevant,” says Patrik Hildingsson at Swedish Match .On Thursday, a Swedish Match delegation presented an argument for Swedish snus exports in Europe for the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Sweden has the lowest proportion of smokers in the EU, most of which are linked to our snus. But – we are not allowed to export the products to the internal EU market.
Since the ban was tested for the first time in 1992, Swedish Match has inevitably barred his head against the EU wall. Since it is no longer possible to claim that snus is associated with oral cancer or leads to increased smoking, the Swedish main argument for an export is different today than in previous trials.Photo text: Misabell Frensborg, Swedish Match Attorney and Marie-Louise Heiman, Chief Legal Officer Swedish Match, outside the European Court of Justice on Thursday.”We think it is discriminatory that it is not allowed, among other things because all the world’s tobacco products are allowed in the EU’s internal market,” says Patrik Hildingsson, Swedish Match Communications Manager, in Luxembourg.
“Extra strange with Indian tobacco in the EU”
The snus is less harmful than any other tobacco product, claimed in the European Court of Justice today, and referred to the EU’s own investigations about the snus health risks. Among other things, it is controlled and regulated by Swedish food law.”Therefore, it becomes extra strange when you allow chewing tobacco products from India and Africa,” says Patrik Hildingsson. Another argument in the court was about public health.
In those markets where snus is found, you smoke less and have fewer tobacco-related diseases. A Norwegian survey has shown that snus is the most common way to quit smoking, and EU statistics show that Sweden has the largest share (41 per cent) of former smokers in Europe. According to the EU’s own statistics, seven percent of Swedes smoke compared with 26 percent in the EU.
When the issue of snus exports was discussed in the EU for the first time, Swedish Match struggled against a strong cigarette lobby.
“The feeling is that it will be a difficult challenge, mainly because this has become a political issue,” says Patrik Hildingsson.
“Today, cigarette lobbies seem to be gone, on the other hand, the drug lobbies are strong, especially among those who sell smokeless nicotine products,” says Patrik Hildingsson. If you were to win this round, big wins are in the pot when Swedish Match makes inroads, mainly against the German-speaking countries.
Decisions after the summer
“Should we only take a single percentage of the EU market, we have doubled Swedish food exports. That means that, says Patrik Hildingsson.
In mid-April, the Advocate General will provide a first recommendation, an indication of the decision later this fall.
“It is strange that EU countries discuss how to regulate the smoking but do not check where the smoking is at its lowest. Instead, focusing on a snus ban, it’s like giving the cigarettes a monopoly, “says Patrik Hildingsson, who dares not hope for an export approval.
“The feeling is that it will be a difficult challenge, mainly because this has become a political issue,” he says.
The Swedish article from Tobak & Mer magazine (Norther Europe’s leading magazine for tobacco, nicotine and issues of law and regulations on these) is missing a link and the translation is incorrect. Here is the link and the correct translation/Bengt
3.SURPRISING, NEW, UNEXPLAINED ARGUMENT FOR SNUS BAN
EU: Paternity leave with children and a healthy lifestyle has led to few smokers in Sweden …
Swedish father’s time with his children through the use of parental leave in combination with a healthier lifestyle is the reason why men’s smoking in Sweden, according to the EU, is Europe’s lowest!
EU lawyer Eva Karlsson – Senior Legal Counsellor, Directorate 2, Employment, Social Affairs, Education, Agriculture, Fisheries – presented completely new and thus probably unexplored and unqualified argument at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg when the hearing was held on January 25 about the Swedish snus.
In research and science, however, it has been proven that access to snus is crucial to fewer smoking cigarettes.
“I have never heard before that father’s withdrawal of parental leave is used to explain that smoking has diminished in Sweden,” says Bengt Wiberg, snus user and winner of Tobacco Global Award 2017 for his invention of Sting Free Snus.
He was in Luxembourg in the whole of the court proceedings in the European Court of Justice.
RESEARCHERS AND SCIENTISTS IN PLACE
Arguments were presented to maintain the EU ban on snus and to remove the ban so that the product becomes free to use as an alternative to smoking tobacco products.
The hearing in European Court of Justice was conducted following an appeal against the EU snus ban initiated by Swedish Match and intervenor,the independent British consumer organization, New Nicotine Alliance (NNA).
In addition to NNA’s experts, including Professor Gerry Stimson, New Nicotine Alliance, researchers included Dr. Lars Ramström, Institute for Tobacco Studies, Täby, and Dr. Karl Erik Lund, Public Health Institute (FHI), Oslo and Bergen.
SKEPTICAL FOR POLITICAL REASONS
“There is cautious optimism that the European Court of Justice will remove the EU’s snus ban, not least because of the extensive scientific evidence that snus usage is considerably less harmful than smoking cigarettes,” says Bengt Wiberg, and notes that …
“Many judges also expressed great skepticism about the EU institutions’ objections to the use of snus, and suggested openly that several of them instead appeared to have political reasons, not public health and scientific reasons …”