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

Discussion in 'Media and General News' started by Bill Godshall, Dec 2, 2011.

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  1. Bill Godshall

    Bill Godshall Executive Director<br/> Smokefree Pennsylvania ECF Veteran

    Apr 2, 2009
    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
    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.
  2. mooreted

    mooreted Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 10, 2011
    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.
  3. DC2

    DC2 Tootie Puffer Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 21, 2009
    San Diego

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

    rothenbj Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jul 23, 2009
    Green Lane, Pa
    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
  5. kristin

    kristin Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Aug 16, 2009
    CASAA - Wisconsin

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

    kristin Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Aug 16, 2009
    CASAA - Wisconsin
    Some interesting facts from this 2006 Scandinavian Journal of Public Health report:

    A 40% DECREASE!!!

    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.

    Anyone see smokeless tobacco use listed here??

    So, no one banning snus wants to admit that obesity could be the major contributor to the problem rather than snus use?
  7. YKruss

    YKruss Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 21, 2009
    Springfield, VA
    This pub med is for snus - Use of snus and risk for cardiovascular disease... [J Intern Med. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI
    And for swedish snuff - BMC Cardiovascular Disorders | Full text | Swedish snuff and incidence of cardiovascular disease.A population-based cohort study:
  8. keydcuk

    keydcuk Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Sep 21, 2011
    United Kingdom
    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!
  9. fumarole

    fumarole Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 20, 2009
    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.
  10. Papa Lazarou

    Papa Lazarou Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 15, 2008
    I wonder what the situation regarding EU laws will be if the Eurozone collapses, as many are now predicting?
  11. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    The EU is separate from the Euro single currency arrangement, so there is no direct link. However, as a general result of the crisis, some EU countries like the UK are reported to be in favour of repatriating some regulatory processes now controlled by the EU. So the political situation may be affected by the currency crisis, even for countries outside the Euro financial zone.

    But there would need to be intense pressure on the government for them to consider health issues such as the Snus ban, they are probably more concerned with matters such as human rights or employment law. In other words, the death of smokers is inconsequential compared to removing the thorn in their side that some EU legislation is for them. Somebody would have to make an issue out of it - and then most likely be shouted down by pharma in any case.
  12. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    The Euro is an amazing thing - any fool could have seen that it wouldn't work, on the day it was established. With no procedure for a country to exit, no way to control individual economies in relation to their currencies, and the tendency to believe the utter fantasy in the documentation concocted by countries who wanted to join, it was a disaster waiting to happen. I thought at the time that, being a layman in finance, I must be missing something important... Apparently not.

    Is every age doomed to suffer the total incompetence of their politicians, or is it just ours?

    The UK is amazingly lucky they didn't join. The fact that the entire gold reserves of any country that joins has to be shipped to Frankfurt might have had something to do with it. There's something to be said for xenophobia :)
  13. Papa Lazarou

    Papa Lazarou Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 15, 2008
    I don't know a great deal about the EU setup, but in my mind anyway it follows that if the Eurozone scheiße really hits the fan, their funding is going to come under severe pressure, as of course there'll be other things to worry about. Like a massive banking crisis, and global depression... Many of the EU countries will likely become bankrupt themselves. I just wondered if with that sort of backdrop whether it would quietly cease to have any relevance at all? Of course I hope it won't come to that.

    BTW we sold off a large chunk of our gold reserves for a low price in the late 90's which signalled the end of a long bear (declining) market in gold - the famous "Brown bottom". The proceeds were invested in things like the Euro. You're right about the politicians :)
  14. Tom09

    Tom09 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 22, 2009
  15. rothenbj

    rothenbj Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jul 23, 2009
    Green Lane, Pa
    I signed the petition despite being non-EU, but we are a global community.
  16. Audio Weasel

    Audio Weasel Super Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 26, 2011
    Winchester, VA
    Am I the only one that LOL'ed when they read this part?
  17. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    The idea of 'open government' is hilarious. It's a contradiction in terms, an impossibility. If one part becomes more open, it just means that the secret parts become even more secret, and more parts join them.

    In any case, it does not affect the fact that modern government is done by autonomous agencies with their own agendas. Plus, the financial and employment pressures on the agencies' staff are stronger than they have ever been.
  18. Bill Godshall

    Bill Godshall Executive Director<br/> Smokefree Pennsylvania ECF Veteran

    Apr 2, 2009
  19. rothenbj

    rothenbj Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Jul 23, 2009
    Green Lane, Pa
    "The main markets for Swedish Match's snus products are Sweden, Norway and the United States. "

    I'm really amazed that our snus market is among the top three. Perhaps we have more snusers than I expected or it's just a case of the US being so large compared to the EU countries.
  20. Vocalek

    Vocalek CASAA Activist ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 7, 2009
    Springfield, VA
    Or that we are one of the few countries where their products are not banned...
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