In July 2014 the EU hadn't been notified that Denmark had banned the sale of snus, probably due to the fact it failed to pass Parliament and a government did the right thing for once and listened to what its people wanted.
This is the directive causing the issues:
1. "Council Directive 89/622/EEC concerning the labeling of tobacco products and the prohibition of the marketing of certain types of tobacco for oral use introduced a ban on the sale of tobacco products for oral use in 1992 – including snus. This ban does not affect chewing tobacco or tobacco for smoking, which are considered to be traditional products. However the Directive does not include provisions which would allow Member States to introduce exemptions for their territory."
So what has happened is the EU is trying to override Demark's sovereignty, something which is a big issue here in the UK and other euro-skeptic countries. The EU Parliament is acting like the ultimate nanny state, because of course, no individual county can be trusted to enact its own legislation or run it's own affairs can it? It's not like they haven't been doing it quite happily for the past millennium without the EU's help.
The interference with member state's sovereignty has gone too far, we can't even deport convicted murderers and terrorists without the EU stepping in; there is even a law on the maximum angle of the bend a banana can have to be sol in shops! Excessive? Just slightly in my opinion.
The EU has achieved some positives, particularly with protecting workers rights and preventing exploitation, free trade agreements and movement, meaning I can just get up and go to any of the wonderful countries within the EU and visit, live or work there, without any red tape (well not much). The problem is when the individual needs of each country are ignored, one size does not fit all.
Denmark clearly believes that it should be able to sell snus, it is a traditional Scandinavian product, Denmark is a Scandinavian country. The only exempt country is Sweden due to them negotiating an exemption from the ban on joining the EU in 1995.
It should be up to the individual countries to decide if they want to allow the sale of snus, not the EU's Snus shouldn't be banned in the first place but, this needs to be dealt with in stages. All out war will not work as the EU has show it will go to any length to supress the fact that snus is considerably safer than smoking Anyone remember the infamous study the EU commissioned where they found it was safer than smoking, so the EU just deleted that part of the report? Eliminating the EU-wide ban on snus is a marathon, not a sprint.
Hopefully Swedish Match's modified risk tobacco product application to the FDA in the the United States will go some way to helping us in the EU. If it is successful it will hopefully reignite the snus debate here, as the EU member states and the US are keen to stick together and do business together.
It may not happen in my lifetime, but maybe, one day, my children will have the option to buy snus here in the UK. That, or the UK's referendum on EU membership votes to leave and I can fill my boots with all the snus I can!
At the time of writing this article there has been no further news on the progress of the case against Denmark in the EU Court of Justice (CJEU).
Standing up for the snus oppressed,
Snus from a British Perspective
Reporting from the UK for SnusCENTRAL.org