Snus is a moist powder tobacco product that is placed under the upper lip for extended periods. It is considered as an effective harm reduction product which has helped thousands quit smoking and is extremely popular in Norway and Sweden, in fact the popularity of snus has led to these two countries reporting the lowest rates of lung cancer in Europe.
The case against the ban on snus was originally put forward by the Swedish Match. Then, around this time last year, the NNA had appealed to the High Court in London, asking “for permission to act as an independent intervenor in the Swedish Match application to challenge the ban on snus”.
The more harm reduction options available, the better
“E-cigarettes are having a major impact, but they don’t work for everyone in all circumstances. We want to see wide availability of all safer nicotine products as alternatives to smoking.” said Chair for the NNA, Professor Gerry Stimson at the time. He had added that increasing the variety of harm reduction products, increases the likelihood for smokers to find the method that most suits them, hence optimizing their chances of quitting.
The NNA’s request to the High Court in London had been accepted, therefore they had intervened as a third party by submitting their own plea to the European Court of Justice, pointing out the benefits that would come about as a result of the snus ban lift.
The ban on snus goes against the right to health
During this hearing taking place next Thursday, (case number = C-151/17), the NNA will get a brief opportunity of 15 minutes to put its arguments across, which in essence point out that the snus ban is both “disproportionate and contrary to the right to health.”
“The New Nicotine Alliance asked to be joined to this case because it concerns the health of smokers in the European Union. The denial of access to lower risk snus leads to unnecessary deaths. The NNA believes that smokers have a right to safer nicotine products as alternatives to smoking and the right to make choices that help them avoid adverse health outcomes,” said Professor Stimson in a communication with Vaping Post. He added that if upheld, the ban will be contributing to avoidable smoke related deaths.
Following the hearing, the Advocate General assigned to the case will examine all the presented evidence and arguments, and come up with a preliminary opinion for the court. The Court will be expected to come up with a final decision sometime later this year.
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