Written by Larry Waters Wednesday, 10 July 2013 15:25
EU Snus Ban Remains, e-cigarettes to be Regulated as Medicines. Menthol banned, Slim Cigarettes Banned....and it gets worse
The EU Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) July 10th 2013 vote on the next EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) ended in disaster for Reduced Harm advocates.
The fight is not over but the future of Swedish snus and e-cigarettes are now very much in doubt.
The Swedish Exemption on Snus remains. While an exemption for snus from upcoming EU flavoring bans was approved, an exemption on an ingredients ban was voted down thanks to UK MEP Linda McAvan.
Sweden seemed to believe it had support from McAvan to get an ingredients exemption which would continue to allow baking soda (fondly known as E500) to be used in Swedish snus.
Why should snusers care about a little baking soda in their snus? Without E500, one cannot extract nicotine from snus.
Maria Larsson's poor stategy of trading the Swedish snus ban for flavoring protection, a weak and myopic negotiating point to begin with, has driven Swedish snus to the very edge of snus disaster.
With an ingredients ban that removes substances that promote nicotine uptake (E500 and the like in the case of snus), McAvan has set up a possible backdoor ban of snus in Sweden. What is snus without bio-available nicotine? We're not just talking Strong and Extra Strong snus; all snuses would have less available nicotine than a half a piece of 2mg nicotine gum.
The ENVI vote was very close; 34-34 with MEP McAvan driving the stake into the heart of the Swedish snus ingredients ban for now.
I predict this won't stop Minister Larsson from issuing press releases tomorrow loudly proclaiming "fear not; our snus has been saved, Sweden can regulate flavorings without EU interference."
Missing from these press releases will be any mention of the ban on ingredients that facilitate nicotine uptake. Without these ingredients, Swedes will have tobacco brimming with any flavor they like under their lip but have no ability to access the nicotine.
E-Cigarettes now Pharma Products and Menthol banned
In another stunning decision, ENVI voted to regulate e-Cigarettes in the EU as Medicinal Products while combustible cigarettes remain regulated as Consumer Products.
While I agree e-cigarettes have not been around long enough to know the long-term effects of inhaling concentrated propylene glycol, we all know the deadly long-term effects of inhaling cigarette smoke containing tar and 5,000 to 10,000 known toxins, carcinogens, and substances science hasn't been able to quite identify yet.
Menthol cigarettes will be banned but not because menthol is a health hazard. The Press has ridiculed Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt for panic-buying 38,000 menthol cigarettes before any menthol ban can be instituted. I am not one of those making jokes.
Like Schmidt, I am a nicotine addict. I lived through the pre-PACT Act snus hoarding in 2009. I bought an extra freezer just to hold my snus reserves. If we get down to the wire on an E500 ban in Sweden, I will be taking out a second mortgage to import and cold-store as much Swedish Snus as I can get my hands on.
If I haven't died of old age by the time my snus runs out, I'll turn to vaping (if that is still legal in the USA). As a final option, I can always go back to smoking cigarettes, assuming FDA has left any meaningful levels of nicotine in them. It won't be for long; I'm sure returning to combustible cigarettes will kill me much sooner than later. Good thing I was never a menthol smoker.
What's Next for Swedish Snus and E-cigarettes in the EU Evil Empire?
The next round is when the proposed TPD goes to Plenary in September/October. There will be quite a fight there because MEP Linda McAvan has basically ignored a large voice in Parliament, and not just on the Snus/E-cigarette issues. After today's ENVI vote, if Sweden is still counting on McAvan to save snus, I fear for snus.
Fortunately, snus and Sweden have a great friend and champion in Swedish MEP Christofer Fjellner. Mr. Fjellner also runs a very popular quasi-legal Swedish snus store out of his office in Brussels. Rumors that Moe Unz is a silent partner in this endevor are completely false. Anyone who knows Moe knows he can't keep a secret after three drinks.
After today's ENVI session,, Mr. Fjellner rushed to his blog and posted an excellent article entitled After vote – Recap of the vote on the Tobacco Products Directive. It is well worth reading.
Meanwhile, if you're a citizen of the UK, I would strongly suggest addressing MEP McAvan as to the error of her ways when it comes to snus, the Swedish snus ban, and all Reduced Harm products. She needs to place the public health above her own personal prejudices and political agenda.
Brussels should be mindful of another point as the TPD process approaches its conclusion.
Since joining the EU, Sweden has consistently shown that as long as modern snus in Sweden for Swedes is maintained, they will surrender the principle of free and open trade even though it is against their own best interests. Stockholm seems very timid when it comes to international relationships and are not the best negotiators.
If the ingredients ban does end up in the final TPD effectively ending Swedish snus, that timidity will disappear in a flash. Sweden will leave the EU by demand of the Swedish people.
The example Sweden's exit sets will inspire others increasing unhappy with the Brussels Autocracy such as the UK to follow suit. Say goodbye to your dreams of a European Empire (you know who you are).
Swedish Snus über alles!
Activist Snus Lord
Shining the Light of Truth from SnusCENTRAL.org
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