EU TPD Ignores Sweden’s Successful Strategy Which Led to a Smokefree Nation

Instead of acknowledging the benefits of safer alternatives, the TPD report refers to the products as a nuisance to regulate, as the market for tobacco and nicotine products as “more diverse and challenging to regulate.”

A chart published in May 2017 by the EU as part of a survey looking into smoking behaviour across the union, had listed Bulgaria, Greece and France as the EU countries with the highest smoking rates. Whilst at the bottom of this list were the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom, all at 16%, and finally, Sweden, at an impressive 5%, a percentage which is globally considered as equating to being Smokefree.

Sweden is known for having reached this status thanks to adopting a harm reduction strategy in a favour of a forbidding stance. This was done by endorsing the use of snus for smoking cessation. Snus is a moist powder tobacco product that is placed under the upper lip for extended periods.

Throughout the EU, this product is only legal in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and it is considered an effective harm reduction product, as studies have indicated that it is significantly safer than cigarettes. In fact, snus has not only led to Sweden boasting the lowest smoking rates in Europe, but more importantly also to reporting the lowest rates of lung cancer across the continent.

The TPD 2021 Application Report

Despite all this positive data, the TPD 2021 Application Report, published by the European Commission earlier this year, singles out novel tobacco products such as snus as posing “specific regulatory challenges”.

Instead of acknowledging the benefits of such products, the report refers to them as a nuisance to regulate, saying that the market for tobacco and nicotine products as “more diverse and challenging to regulate”, as the new product categories “circumvent existing regulations” and can’t be fully addressed by the current TPD rules.

The TPD aims to standardize its regulations with the WHO

Health warnings, the existence of flavours, and the use of devices are among issues singled out by the Commission’s report as “legal loopholes” exploited by these novel products. The Commission also said that it plans to amend the TPD to fully capture new products such as nicotine pouches and heated tobacco products (HTPs).

“It’s unfortunate that the EU continues to have a hostile rather than constructive attitude towards snus and innovative nicotine products that are less harmful than cigarettes,” says Patrik Strömer, Secretary General of the Association of Swedish Snus Manufacturers.

Among other things, to the alarm of many the TPD aims to standardize its regulations with the ones recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Read Further: Snusforumet

Are the EU Member States the Only Ones Tightening the Rules Against E-Cigarettes?

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