EU considers coming to its senses about snus

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The executive arm of the European Union, the European Commission is, once again, considering an end to its ban on the export of Swedish snus to other EU countries. The Commission, which has considered lifting the ban several times before, has frequently been made aware of the comparatively low smoking and cancer rates in Sweden, the only EU country where snus (smokeless tobacco contained in small sachets) is legally available. However, the EU Commission may soon respond to the demands of its citizens: The results of a large survey reveaI strong support for lifting the ban on snus.

Although the Commission has previously maintained the ban on grounds that snus is unhealthy, we will follow the latest developments with interest and hope.

The EU Commission is afraid, just as officials in the U.S. are, to introduce a substance that has any carcinogens in it, says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. However, if they were to seriously consider the relative risks and the real benefits of switching from smoking to snus, they d see that the ban is counter-productive. It s actually harmful to their citizens to ban snus, which has the potential to lower smoking rates, and of course the rates of the myriad diseases caused by smoking, including cancer and heart disease. Sweden has the lowest rates of those diseases in Europe. It defies logic to have cigarettes readily available on every corner while the tobacco product with one-hundredth the risk remains banned.