Monday, 10 December 2012 13:47

EU Snus Wars: Sweden Strikes Back!

Written by Larry Waters
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Last week, Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet revealed unpublished new restrictions the EU planned to impose on Swedish snus in the next EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). Foremost were a ban on all flavorings in tobacco products and a requirement that smokeless tobacco including Swedish snus have a minimum tobacco content of 85%.

Swedish snus has a tobacco content of around 50%; the other 50% being primarily water. Add the EU 85% tobacco content and a ban on flavorings including bergamot and this would truly be the end of Swedish snus as it has been know as for hundreds of years.

In fact, other than nasal snuff, only cigarettes would qualify as having a low enough moisture content to meet that regulation. I do hesitate to say cigarettes contain 85% tobacco since God knows what else is in the floor sweepings used to fill cigarettes.

The End of Swedish Snus as we know it?

EU Commissioner Tonio Borg, "We will assimilate you!"Effectively, Commissioner Borg wants to require smokeless tobacco makers to include more of the evil tobacco than it currently does. For those still skeptical, this alone proves the EU is not and has never regulated tobacco products based on science or scientific facts (at least those "facts" not supplied by Big Pharma).

Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Björling and Children and the Elderly Minister Maria Larsson, whose portfolio includes alcohol/tobacco issues, met with new EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg. Borg denied any changes to the moisture levels in snus but was strangely silent on the issue of flavorings.

Considering Borg was appointed to the EU Commission through Malta to replace the disgraced John Dalli, one should be wary of accepting anything Commissioner Borg says until the formal written draft of the new TPD is presented to the EU Parliament.

Dalli, you may recall, was quickly forced to resign after an OLAF investigation concluded he had knowledge of an attempt to solicit a 60MM Euro bribe from snus maker Swedish Match AB. In return for the bribe, the EU Snus Ban would have been removed from the TPD.

After the meetings, Björling, who had never been known as being a Swedish snus warrior,  publicly stated that the EU risked "all out war" with Sweden if snus in its current form is threatened. She strongly pointed out that "the European Commission's facts must be based on scientific grounds". In further remarks after the meeting with Commissioner Borg, Björling announced she will not be satisfied until the ban on Swedish snus is gone.

The SnusCIA has learned from a highly placed source speaking on condition of anonymity that much stronger language was used behind closed doors.

One of the Swedish Ministers meeting with Commissioner Borg is said to have firmly told Borg that if any attempts to alter Swedish snus were introduced into the new TPD, especially if the EU Snus Ban was not removed, they would be ignored by Sweden.

The Swedish public seems to be as outraged by the new TPD inclusions as many Swedish politicians now are. Public sentiment runs high for an end to the EU unfairly targeting Swedish snus even if it means leaving the EU to accomplish it.

Events are happening very quickly now as the new TPD proposal could be submitted by the EU Commission to the EU Parliament as soon as this week but absolutely no later than the end of January 2013. At stake are the free trade rights of Sweden and the very existence of Swedish snus itself.

The Cold War between Sweden and the EU Commission over Swedish snus which began in 1994 has ended; the opening salvo of missiles have been launched by both sides.  An attack on the EU Parliament by the Swedish Government has begun.

No Retreat; No Surrender.

LARRY WATERS
Reporting from the front lines on the War Against Tobacco

Read 2494 times Last modified on Friday, 13 December 2013 23:44

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