Tobacco: The politics of free trade and public health in the EU


“Snus”, “Chew”, “Snuff”, “Dip”, whatever form you choose to refer to it, smokeless tobacco has been banned from the EU market in favour of its more popular, more profitable, and far more dangerous, brand of addictive product: cigarettes.

Behind the reasonable arguments against the use of tobacco products regarding public and personal health, there’s been more of a political drama of sorts played out within the EU that has gathered little, if any, attention by the majority of its citizens.

As stated by the EU Commission’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), the reasons for the ban on the import and sale of smokeless tobacco within the Schengen Area are a matter of concern for the public’s health. However, the truth behind the ban’s implementation has little, if anything, to do with alleged concerns for the public’s health by the EU Commission, but is an issue much more focused on the EU’s competitive “free-trade” that would impact the financial markets of European cigarette companies and their subsidiaries.

In a nutshell, the TPD explains the ban as follows: “The prohibition of the sale of tobacco for oral use should be maintained in order to prevent the introduction in the Union (apart from Sweden) of a product that is addictive and has adverse health effects.”

Exception to the rule

Of course, the first thing anyone who’s paying attention would take note of in that statement is why Sweden, an EU country, is an exception to the ban. The short answer is that the Swedes love their oral tobacco so much they might even consider leaving the EU if they were ever deprived of one of their simple pleasures in life, but we’ll come back to Sweden in a moment. The actual fact is that this prohibition was a response to aggressive attempts to introduce oral tobacco products by the US Smokeless Tobacco Company (UST), in partnership with British American Tobacco (BAT).

Read full article here.

Stephen A. Chmelewski – The Portugal News – 2022-01-22.

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