You may have recently seen in the news and on SnusCentral.org that the EU is suing Denmark for continuing to sell snus. Denmark sells snus? Isn't snus banned throughout the EU with the exception of Sweden? Well, yes and no; yes in that it is banned, but Denmark has continued to sell loose snus.
How has this happened I hear you cry? Well loose snus was legal in Denmark despite the TPD banning oral tobacco that wasn't chewed, only portion snus was banned (I can't actually work that one out and I haven't found anything online saying why).
Denmark decided to enact legislation banning the sale of loose snus by March 2013 following a threat from the EU in October 2012 to haul them before the courts for continuing to allow the sale of snus. Denmark put the proposal before its parliament and they voted to not ban snus. The simply were not going to be bullied by the EU so loose snus sales continued....
It's difficult being in Big Tobacco and running its snus business in Nordic Europe. It's even more difficult if you are in Small Tobacco, and don't have a cigarette business to bring in the cash while your snus factory loses money annually.
At last count, there are under 10 tobacco companies in Sweden manufacturing snus. There is at least one in Denmark (V2).
Scandinavia sells 220 million cans of snus per year, 200 of which go through the Swedish market + duty free (and leak over to Finland), and 20m which are purchased in Norway. Until the Swedish government changed, and levied a 100% excise tax increase in 2006, and another 50% increase in 2007, snus was growing at 10% per year in volume terms. It's now stable, after a quick volume drop. Norway was increasing excise regularly, and up to 35% of Norwegian consumption now comes from Swedish border shops.
THE SWEDISH MARKET
In Sweden, Big (and small) Tobacco sell snus (and smokes) into 9000 shops, including many independents, organized convenience outlets (7-11, Pressbyran (Reitan)), and organized grocery (ICA, COOP, Axfood). 98% of all tobacco products are delivered by Swedish Match Distribution, a nearly flawless distribution company with roots in the old monopoly. Swedish Match AB also has 87% market share in snus, so the other producers have all had those 'prickly' moments of being locked in the Death Star's tractor beam when they signed with SMD for snus distribution.
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