Dagens Nyheter, Wednesday 7 December:
“Brussels. The EU commission now promises the Swedish Government that it will re-evaluate the export ban for snus after DN’s revealing that EU’s own investigation show that there is strong support for snus sales in Europe.
The Commission should apologize to 80,000 of its citizens for not listening to their views, says [Swedish] trade minister Ewa Björling.
The EU commission announced this summer that the public survey used to support its tobacco legislation, showed that a majority of the member countries want a continued ban for exporting snus from Sweden.
DN however went through all the replies [in the survey], which were made public during the autumn, and they show that a large majority of the respondents, in all different groups, want to remove the snus ban.
Trademinister Björling brought a translation of last weeks DN articles to a meeting with John Dalli, the responsible EU commissioner, this Monday.
– He promised to look at the findings from the survey, and the trend in Sweden, says Ewa Björling.
The level of smokers in Sweden is much lower than in other EU countries and so the level of lung cancer. Sweden also has tougher regulation for cigarette sales, than many other countries. – If health commissioner Dalli wants to accomplish something to improve the health within EU during his tenure as commissioner, its probably wise to draw from the experience in Sweden on how to handle the issue, rather than arriving at a full EU ban against cigarettes, which won’t be very successful.
The EU commission is expected to present its proposal on new tobacco legislation early next year.”
UPDATE 1-EU promises Sweden it will review snus ban
By Veronica Ek
7 December 2011
(c) 2011 Reuters Limited
(Adds trade minister comments)
STOCKHOLM, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The European Commission has promised Sweden it will take another look at its ban of the tobacco product snus, which is allowed in Sweden but banned elsewhere in the European Union, the Swedish trade minister said on Wednesday.
Swedish Match is Europe’s biggest producer of snus, or wet snuff, which is put under the upper lip and is mostly sold as small pouches of tobacco.
Trade minister Ewa Bjorling said she had met EU Health Commissioner John Dalli and discussed the results of a survey of EU states about current tobacco laws.
“What I believe is most important is that you base your reasoning on scientific facts. That is what I try to tell Dalli, and I ask the question: Why do you still want to have a ban on Swedish wet snuff when there are other snuff products on the market in the EU, for example Pakistani snuff?,” Bjorling told Reuters.
This was the second time she raised the snus issue with Dalli.
“I think he was listening in a different way this time. The first time he dismissed it simply saying their goal is to get everything away for health reasons,” Bjorling said.
Sweden says it has a lower proportion of deaths from lung cancer than in other EU states and a lower level of smokers.
Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter has reported that its own examination of the answers to the Commission’s survey showed that a majority of people in member states wanted to end the snus ban, even if most members states supported keeping it.
The Commission is expected to propose a new tobacco products law during the spring next year and released the results of a survey in July of attitudes to the current law, including the ban on snus.
The survey, which is on the Commission’s website, was carried out by asking questions to EU citizens, industry representatives, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government representatives.
Most answers came from Italy and Poland, and the Commission noted that Italian tobacconists had organised a campaign to encourage submissions to the survey.
The survey showed that EU citizens and industry representatives were in favour of lifting the snus ban, while most EU states and NGOs wanted it maintained.
The main markets for Swedish Match’s snus products are Sweden, Norway and the United States.
Swedish Match shares rose 1.6 percent to 224 Swedish crowns on Wednesday.
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