For immediate release

LONDON 23 October: The Federal Drug Administration in the US has this week issued a judgement that eight snus smokeless tobacco products can be marketed with claims that they are less harmful than smoking. The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) welcomes this development and urges the European Union to abandon its archaic and indefensible ban on the products for European smokers.

Snus is a pasteurised tobacco product with decades of epidemiological evidence proving that it presents negligible risk compared to smoking. Owing to unjustified panic in the 1980s, it is currently banned in the EU despite overwhelming evidence that it is up to 99% less harmful than smoking. Sweden – which has an exemption to the ban – enjoys by far the lowest smoking rates and tobacco-related harm in the EU.

“It is inexplicable why the EU continues to perpetuate the ban on European smokers choosing to switch to snus,” says Mark Oates of the NNA, “not only is the sale of snus permitted in the USA but they have now allowed one company to make the undisputed claim that “using snus instead of cigarettes puts you at a lower risk of mouth cancer, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis”, the difference in approach could not be more stark, and it is the EU which is being reckless with its public’s health, not America.”

“The FDA has recognised that there is a continuum of risk surrounding nicotine use and that snus is at the very low end of that,” Oates continued, “this decision is a welcome game-changer as it acknowledges, quite rightly, that safer nicotine products can offer great potential for smokers who wish to switch from smoking to a safer alternative. Public perception is key, and the US has decided that messaging conveying the relative risk of nicotine products is vital information that can offer great benefits to advancement of public health. By contrast, the EU is wedded to an out-of-date, unscientific and therefore indefensible ban on products which are 99% safer than smoking, while allowing cigarettes to be sold everywhere.”

“It is well past time that the EU stepped out of the 80s and followed the lead of the FDA,” Oates concluded, “there is simply no valid reason for snus to be prohibited in the EU, it is a shameful dereliction of duty which should be overturned at the first opportunity.”

Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance

Note to Editors: The NNA is a registered UK charity staffed by consumer volunteers, formed to increase understanding about the benefits of risk-reduced nicotine products and a better recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as a powerful incentive for smoking cessation. We wish to see a mature public and organisational understanding of the potential of safer nicotine products for reducing cigarette smoking, including their safety and efficacy, and hence contribute to the reduction in cigarette smoking. This requires engaging with and informing a wide range of individuals and audiences – from health through to regulatory bodies.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 0300 30 20029

FDA grants first-ever modified risk orders to eight smokeless tobacco products

Reuters: EU court stands by ban on Swedish tobacco product 'snus'