EU accused of hiding support for snus / Giant lobbyists in snus battle
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Thread: EU accused of hiding support for snus / Giant lobbyists in snus battle

  1. #1
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    Default EU accused of hiding support for snus / Giant lobbyists in snus battle

    Two news articles (translated to English) from the November 30 Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.


    EU anklagas för att mörka stöd för snus - DN.SE

    EU accused of hiding support for snus

    Dagens Nyheter
    30 November 2011

    Sweden´s hopes of lifting the export ban on snus appeared to be crushed in the summer. The European Commission announced that most member countries are saying a firm no. But DN's review shows that there is in fact strong support for making snus freely available on the market.

    A majority of Member States support prohibiting all forms of oral tobacco, including snus, the European Commission categorically announced in a press release in July. The basis for the statement came from a "public consultation" on tobacco laws. There were a total 85,000 responses to questions surrounding snus, tobacco advertising and the look of cigarette packages.

    EU Health Commissioner, John Dalli, shortly thereafter made it clear to ministers Göran Hägglund and Maria Larsson, that the Commission had already decided to continue its export ban on snus.

    But all the responses to this major survey were only published in the autumn, and a review of these gives a very different result.

    Of the citizens who submitted their opinions, more than eight out of ten, 84 percent, support lifting the export ban on snus. 86 percent of government representatives and 74 percent of industry representatives wish to lift the ban. Only among lobbyists and NGOs is there a slim majority, 56 percent, who want to keep the ban on snus.

    The EU Commission, however, dismisses a significant portion of the responses from the 82,000 citizens on the grounds that two-thirds are from Italy and Poland, where tobacco merchants organised petitions.

    But even if we exclude these two countries, the majority is still for lifting the export ban on snus, 10-6, when respondents are broken down by country.

    Commissioner Dalli's spokesperson, Frederic Vincent, defends the Commission's contrary statement, saying that it only took account of the government representatives who responded:

    “The report is based on a qualitative analysis based on responses from Member States, i.e. governments and ministries.”

    DN's review of the 400 responses in this group shows that even among the responses from parliamentarians, municipalities, government agencies and ministries a large majority, 71 percent, support lifting the export ban. Even when only EU governments and ministries are included, there is still no majority against snus, but rather 3-3.

    The European Commission's health directorate claims to have received responses from governments who in other ways support the ban on snus, but refuses to show them.

    Snus manufacturer Swedish Match, who brought this contradictory data to the attention of DN, is accusing the European Commission of trying to sweep the snus issue under the rug.

    “These are very strange conclusions that the Commission's health directorate has drawn from the results, which instead clearly shows strong support for lifting the ban,” said Public Affairs Director Patrick Hildingsson.

    In Sweden all the parliamentary parties are in support of lifting the export ban on snus, and Minister for Trade, Ewa Björling (M), has raised the issue as a breach of EU internal market rules. But the EU ban on snus has been introduced for health reasons, and it is therefore Minister of Children and the Elderly, Maria Larsson (KD), that will present Sweden's case in the forthcoming negotiations on tobacco legislation.

    But Maria Larsson's political advisor Ulrik Lindgren says that the matter is low on the minister`s agenda thus far:

    “We are not working actively on this issue,” he says.

    - - - -

    Jättelobbyisternas snusstrid - DN.SE

    Giant lobbyists in snus battle

    Henrik Brors henrik.brors@dn.se
    Dagens Nyheter
    30 November 2011

    In the battle over snus the world's largest pharmaceutical company is in one corner of the ring and the world's largest tobacco company in the other. The battle is about the hundreds of millions of smokers who are trying to quit. Big time lobbying is clearly visible in the EU snus debate. The tobacco industry was most successful in mobilising support for petitions via YouTube and the Internet, while the pharmaceutical industry has achieved success by more selective actions.

    The Finish Ministry of Social Affairs issued almost verbatim the same responses as the world's largest pharmaceutical company Pfizer to the questions (in the European's Commission's public consultation on the review of the Tobacco Products Directive).

    “There is clear competition between us and the pharmaceutical industry,” says Swedish Match's Public Affairs Director Patrick Hildingsson. “In the EU there are 107 million smoking consumers both our industries want to reach. The pharmaceutical industry does not want see the success snus has had in helping people stop smoking to spread outside Sweden.”

    But Pfizer's Medical Director John Brun does not see snus as competition:

    “Absolutely not. Tobacco is a major health risk regardless of how it is consumed, which is why we have committed ourselves to reaching out from a health perspective in public debate.”

    He rejects the argument that snus has been any better in terms of health for the Swedes and points to the high rates of cardiovascular disease in Sweden.

    “Snus contains extremely high levels of nicotine which can trigger vascular disorders, and those who switch to snus can have an even harder time getting rid of nicotine addiction.”

    The battle between "Big Tobacco" and "Big Pharma" is also underway in the United States. Smokeless products from the tobacco companies and nicotine products from pharmaceutical companies are even starting to look like one other, with similar lozenges to suck on.

    Swedish Match has about 10 percent of the US snus market and has formed a joint venture with Philip Morris to launch snus outside the US and Scandinavia.

    “Health authorities in the US exhibit a completely different openness in the review of legislation, which in the US is based on scientific evidence. Here in Europe it is more closed-doors and politics that govern,” says Patrick Hildingsson.

    In its response to the European Commission, the British medical association, Royal College of Physicians, recommended that the export ban on snus should be lifted. The organisation believes that there is a need to invest in both snuff and NRTs in order to seriously reduce cigarette smoking.

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    Ultra Member ECF Veteran mooreted's Avatar
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    Well, at least it's not just the US that tries to ban anything contrary to the concerns of deep-pocket lobbyists then hide any data that might threaten all that tasty revenue.

    Sent from my easy chair using brainwaves.

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    WE WILL WIN.

    It will happen one day.
    Because we will refuse to be stopped.

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    We can only hope that some sanity will come to this issue with time. Unfortunately the pharma controlled medical field is more and more dedicated to eliminating all competition from other industries.

    *edited to fix my hurried response
    Last edited by rothenbj; 12-04-2011 at 01:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Godshall View Post
    He rejects the argument that snus has been any better in terms of health for the Swedes and points to the high rates of cardiovascular disease in Sweden.
    Proof??

    I'm not aware of any research showing this to be true.


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    Some interesting facts from this 2006 Scandinavian Journal of Public Health report:

    Cardiovascular diseases are one of the absolutely largest public health problems in Sweden. The risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, above all myocardial infarction, declined by about 23% between 1987 and 2002. The risk of dying from coronary disease has declined even more – by about 40%.
    A 40% DECREASE!!!

    Internationally, however, Sweden still has high mortality from coronary diseases compared with other countries in e.g. southern Europe, although cardiovascular diseases have declined considerably more in Sweden than in southern Europe...The commonest explanation is that eating habits in the Mediterranean, perhaps primarily the intake of olive oil and other polyunsaturated fatty acids, contributes to the low mortality in these areas...Mortality from myocardial infarction and other coronary diseases, however, is higher than Sweden’s in some countries in Eastern Europe, for example Hungary.

    In 1987 mortality among Swedish men aged 65 and younger was 30% higher than among Greek men, while the opposite was true in 2000, when Greek men of these ages had almost 30% higher mortality from coronary diseases than Swedish men had...A probable explanation is that the proportion of smokers over 15 years of age according to WHO is just over 47% among Greek men compared to scarcely 17% in Sweden.
    Lots of olive oil in Greece, no snus, yet Greek men have 30% higher mortality from coronary diseases than Swedish men. So, Sweden has high mortality from coronary diseases compared with other countries, but not compared with others.

    Apart from high age and male sex, smoking, high blood pressure and high serum cholesterol are the bestknown and best-established risk factors for coronary diseases including myocardial infarction...Diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor social network and difficult social circumstances, e.g. poor economy and increased psychosocial stress also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Monotonous and stressful work, with high demands but small possibilities of influencing one’s working situation, i.e. small decision-making latitude, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease [2]. Alcohol abuse gives an increased risk of damage to the heart and blood vessels, while moderate consumption of alcohol among adults can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases
    Anyone see smokeless tobacco use listed here??

    The proportion of smokers continues to decrease and in 2004 only 11% of men and 18.5% of women in northern Sweden smoked. As against this, neither systolic blood pressure nor diastolic blood pressure changed noticeably in northern Sweden during the period. Weight and body mass index (BMI) on the other hand have increased sharply among the population of northern Sweden. Since 1986, for example, the proportion of seriously overweight (obesity with BMI 30 or over) has almost doubled. Almost a fifth of the population of northern Sweden are now obese [12]. This increase in northern Sweden is similar to the pattern we see throughout the country.
    So, no one banning snus wants to admit that obesity could be the major contributor to the problem rather than snus use?


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    This pub med is for snus - Use of snus and risk for cardiovascular disease... [J Intern Med. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI
    RESULTS: Overall, there was no association between use of snus and risk for cardiovascular disease.
    CONCLUSION: These data do not support any strong association between snus use and risk for cardiovascular disease.
    And for swedish snuff - BMC Cardiovascular Disorders | Full text | Swedish snuff and incidence of cardiovascular disease.A population-based cohort study:
    Conclusion: The present study does not support any relationship between snuff and incidence of cardiovascular disease in men.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooreted View Post
    Well, at least it's not just the US that tries to ban anything contrary to the concerns of deep-pocket lobbyists then hide any data that might threaten all that tasty revenue.

    Sent from my easy chair using brainwaves.
    While I think the Swedes are being of pure heart, I think the US is more of an FDA scam so we can have more dying people for BIG PHARMA to push chemo sales up amongst other money making drugs... It doesn't pay to keep us healthy! Up my finger to them!

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    The EU is rightly famous for crushing incompetence in many areas such as finance and agricultural policy. In the case of the EU Health Commission, we can add corruption to this. They only do what they are told by pharma, no doubt with some side orders of cash from tobacco to sweeten things a bit more - when this corresponds to what pharma wants.

    The corruption rife in the EU health dept. is directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year.

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    I wonder what the situation regarding EU laws will be if the Eurozone collapses, as many are now predicting?
    keydcuk likes this.

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