British parliamentary committee: end snus ban after Brexit

A British parliamentary committee has suggested to the British government that the ban on Swedish snus should end after Brexit. 

The suggestion is part of a major report on e-cigarettes, published on 17 August by Parliament’s Committee on Science and Technology, which proposes that the UK Government adopt legislation commensurate with the risks.

“The government should review the regulatory framework for e-cigarettes and new tobacco products currently applied under EU law, to identify scope for change after Brexit,” the report reads, emphasizing the importance of more evidence-based legislation.

According to the report, e-cigarettes could be a good method to reduce smoking because, according to the report, they are 95 percent less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

The report also quotes Professor Peter Hajek at Queen Mary University, who refers to data from Sweden and Scandinavia on nicotine replacement therapies.

“We have a large amount of data from Sweden and Norway about people who use snus,” Peter Hajek told the committee.

“There is no sign of an increase in nicotine-linked cancer. Lung cancer linked to smoking is gone. The same goes for heart disease. I do not think we have any evidence that nicotine is very harmful.”

Current UK rules for e-cigarettes and other “new tobacco products”, such as snus, limit the possibilities of using these products to help people quit conventional cigarettes.

The report points out that the UK should adopt legislation more proportionate to the risks, where rules, taxes, and advertising restrictions reflect the proven harm of each tobacco product.

The authors of the report also write that an evidence-based approach would contribute to more widespread use and acceptance of e-cigarettes and new tobacco products if these lead to a reduction in smoking.