EU Must Break with Destructive Patronage of Tobacco and Nicotine

Culture - February 18, 2024

Proposals for new bans have ended up on the Commission’s table. Now it is no longer enough to limit tobacco. Lobbyists want to ban “white snus”, which contains nicotine but no tobacco.

The question that must be asked is whether the European Union should work for free trade and people’s opportunities to live in freedom, or whether the Union should act as guardian parents and ban everything that is fun but somewhat unhealthy.

Already in 1992, the EU banned wet snus, a tradition of consuming tobacco that is very common in Sweden. Therefore, Sweden received an exception from the ban when the country became a member of the EU in 1995.

Since then, Swedish governments have acted for wet snus to be allowed in the EU, so that this Swedish product can be sold in the rest of Europe. Sweden has not achieved any success.

This despite the fact that snus is less harmful than cigarettes. And despite the fact that switching from cigarettes to snus means reduced health risks.

Free trade must come first

The new term of office within the Union, which begins in July, must be characterized more by a focus on free trade and opportunities for various industries to develop, rather than stifling entrepreneurship with claw-fingered rules.

The proposals to ban “white snus” or nicotine pouches, which have been secretly submitted to the EU Commission, should be thrown in the trash.

It is not in the interest of free trade that the European Union makes it more difficult to sell and export new products that also aim to create consumption that has less risk of harming health.

Regulatory hysteria is breeding ground for corruption

In Sweden, we well remember how the EU commissioner for health and consumer policy, John Dalli, was forced to resign in 2012 following bribery allegations that were indirectly directed against him. He had requested €60 million from the tobacco company Swedish Match via a bullpen in order to remove the snus ban within the EU.

– The snuff ban turned out to be for sale, said the tobacco company, which immediately reported the “offer” to the European Commission, which sent the case to the anti-corruption agency OLAF (Office Européen de Lutte Anti-Fraude).

The Dalli case shows how difficult it is when politics steps in and rules over free market forces. It is a dangerous power that easily lures people into depravity. And the fact that this possibility of bribery arises at all is a clear sign that the current regulations violate the logic of market forces. It is in planned economies that corruption runs rampant.

“White snus” is tobacco-free

It would therefore be a great misfortune if the EU were to treat “white snus” in the same unfavorable way as wet snus, i.e. ban it.

The European Union was not formed to prohibit trade in goods, but to facilitate economic growth, competitive production and exchange between the peoples of the member states.

The tobacco-free nicotine pouches are popular in more and more European countries. And a transition from cigarette smoking to this tobacco-free product strengthens public health.

Of course, it would be best if no European had the slightest need for either tobacco or nicotine. But we Europeans are only human. We have our vices, cultural and traditional rites, which we appreciate. And we must live!

The EU must not become a health fascist union that tries to force people to live a certain way. It has nothing to do with the EU’s mandate on free trade.



Snus (or moist snus) contains tobacco, comes in small round boxes, either in teabag-like pouches or loose tobacco, which are placed under the lip.

White snus (or nicotine pouches) contains no tobacco, only nicotine, comes in small round boxes containing teabag-like pouches which are placed under the lip.


Snus is a Swedish tradition since four hundred years. The name “snus” is used since 1637. The consumption of snus increased until the 1920s, when over one kilogram was used per capita and year in Sweden. When cigarette smoking became popular, it decreased. The use of snus has increased again in recent years, as cigarette smoking has decreased, and is significantly lower in Sweden than in other member states