European Health Commissioner reprimands Astrid Thors for snus liberation campaign..

December 15, 2008 - Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Health, has advised Finland’s Minister of European and Migration Affairs Astrid Thors (Swedish People's Party) to adhere to the tobacco directive adopted by the European Union (EU).

As reported by Helsingin Sanomat (biggest subscription newspaper in Finland) on Tuesday, December 11, 2008 Thors had bought ten boxes of snus for her “friends and acquaintances” during a stop-over in Sweden on her way home from Brussels, where she had been on an official journey. Vassiliou points out that Sweden has promised not to introduce snus on the market in any other member states. According to Vassiliou, this applies to the Finnish territorial waters as well. Large quantities of snus are sold on cruise ships sailing between Sweden and Finland. The Commissioner has given a very strict reply to Thors who would like to deregulate the sales of snus in the EU area.

A committee on tobacco policy set up by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to review a potential reform of the Tobacco Act is reportedly also planning to tighten the law further. The committee will submit its final report to Minister of Health and Social Services Paula Risikko (National Coalition Party) on December 18th.

The marketing of snus as a less harmful substance than cigarettes is an outright distortion of the facts, says Harri Vainio, the Director General of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. ”There are no reasons to introduce on the market a new tobacco product that is popular among young people, even those below 15 years. It is an early way to become addicted to nicotine”, Vainio points out.

Directive Adopted by the EU: Under EU regulations dating back to 1992, the sale of this kind of smokeless tobacco (snus) is prohibited in all other Union member states with the exception of Sweden. The Swedes campaigned hard before entry into the EU to make their exemption from the ban a condition of joining.

Reference: Health Commissioner reprimands Astrid Thors for snus liberation campaign Experts: Snus causes addiction and cancer, HELSINGIN SANOMAT

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