Snus challenge imminent

| January 18, 2018

A legal challenge against the EU’s ban on snus outside Sweden is due to be heard at the European Court of Justice on January 25, according to a note posted on the website of the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA).

The case was originally brought by Swedish Match, but the NNA, which is a charitable organization concerned with improving public health through a greater understanding of new, risk-reduced nicotine products and their uses, joined the case because it concerned the health of smokers in the EU.

‘It is not about markets and commerce, but about the right to be able to choose a safer alternative to smoking,’ the NNA said in its note. ‘For the NNA this case is about whether some 320,000 premature deaths from smoking can be saved in future years, as detailed by Dr Lars Ramström in his statement to the court.’ Since 1990, Ramström has been director of the Institute for Tobacco Studies, Stockholm, Sweden, an independent research institute focusing on the epidemiology of tobacco use and related policy matters.

The NNA says that the core of its case is that the ban on snus is both disproportionate and contrary to the right to health. ‘There is no need for the ban, and the ban, if upheld, will continue to contribute to excess mortality from smoking in Europe,’ it said.

‘This is the first time that a “right to health” argument has been used to challenge a bad tobacco law: we argue that the Court needs to examine the compatibility of the Tobacco Products Directive with both the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the harm reduction obligation under the [World Tobacco Organization’s] Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.’

Last year the ECJ asked all EU states and the EU Institutions to comment on the case, and it received five responses.

On January 25, all parties to the case will be given 15 minutes or so to expand on their arguments.

After the hearing, the Advocate General assigned to the case is due to examine the arguments and evidence, and to come up with a preliminary opinion for the court.

The court is due to reach a final decision later this year.

The NNA note is at: https://nnalliance.org/blog/223-campaign-to-legalise-snus-update-on-the-ecj-case.

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, Litigation, People, Regulation

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