Snus edging out cigarettes in Finland

New statistics on tobacco imports from Sweden to Finland show a large increase in the amount of snus crossing the border. At the same time, figures indicate that imports of cigarettes have fallen.

Private imports of snus to Finland increased by 23 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year, with Finnish travelers bringing over a total of 17.5 million boxes of snus into the country for private use, according to a report by the Finnish public broadcaster Yle.

At the same time, private imports of cigarettes decreased by almost 30 percent over the same period, with a total of 351 million cigarettes imported, most of which were purchased on ferries.

The statistics are from a survey of more than 26,000 respondents conducted on behalf of the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with Philip Morris Finland Ltd and the Finnish Tobacco Industry Association.

Since the first year the survey was conducted in 2009, the number of snus packages imported to Finland for private use has tripled from 5.7 million to 17.5 million. 

Fewer people import cigarettes to Finland

Private imports of cigarettes, on the other hand, have steadily lost ground from a record of just over 800 million cigarettes in the 2008 to just 351 million in 2018.

Snus has been banned from sale in Finland since the country joined the EU in 1995, but by law you can import up to one kilo of snus per day for private use.

“Finnish politicians made a historic mistake when they agreed to ban the sale of snus in connection with EU membership. For 25 years, the proportion of smokers has been higher in Finland than would otherwise have been the case,” says Patrik Strömer, Secretary-General of the Association of Swedish Snus Manufacturers. 

“While policy remains stuck in the 20th century, it’s gratifying that the Finnish people have figured out how to overcome the problem of how to get better products.”