A secret report from the EU Commission aims to ban nicotine pouches in Sweden. This is according to Charlie Weimers, a Member of the European Parliament, who wrote about the report on X. The report will be presented to EU member states, and claims that the ban on oral tobacco has been very successful. It also contains a recommendation for the EU to expand the ban on oral tobacco to include nicotine pouches. If the EU Commission and member states accept the recommendations of the report, nicotine pouches will not only be prohibited in Europe but also in Sweden, as Sweden’s exemption from the oral tobacco ban does not apply to nicotine pouches. These statements not only pose a treat to a life-saving product, but are completely out of touch with reality.
The truth is that snus has been the main success factor in Sweden’s approach to achieving the European Union’s goal of a smoke-free society, defined as less than 5% smokers. By offering a less harmful alternative to smoking, snus and nicotine pouches has been a crucial component in reducing smoking rates and saving lives. A ban on nicotine pouches would be a serious setback in this effort and undermine our progress toward a smoke-free future. Especially for Sweden itself, who would be deprived of the main ingredient of its success.
One of the most concerning consequences of a potential ban on nicotine pouches is that women will be disproportionately affected. Swedish women do not find snus as appealing as men does and consequently have had smoking rates higher than that of males, driving Sweden’s smoking rates before 2016. Since the introduction of nicotine pouches, women’s smoking rates have dropped by 40%. At the same time, women’s use of nicotine pouches has increased. By introducing a ban on these products, women are deprived of a less harmful option to smoking and, in the worst of cases, forced back to alternatives that are detrimental to their health and lives.
In the battle for a smoke-free society, the European Union must look toward how Sweden is about to achieve their smoke-free status. Doing anything but so, would be unethical since the life of smokers are at stake. Yet again, this report is evidence that there are a lot of people left who needs to realize the potential in these products and put ideology behind them. We need to look at real life examples and why they work.
Sweden’s politicians need to stand at the forefront and promote their model in the European Union. Weimers points out that this report is likely a trial balloon from the EU bureaucracy, intending to test the waters. We need to raise our voices and make sure this does not go unchallenged. With Sweden being the country the closest to achieving the European Union’s own goal of becoming smoke-free, it would be tragic if the European Union would be the one to throw a wrench in the works.