Sale of the moist pouched tobacco product has been prohibited in the European Union since 1992, with Sweden having been granted an exception due to its tradition of snus use. Stockholm-based snus manufacturer, Swedish Match, had challenged the validity of the ban on snus in the United Kingdom and, consequently, the validity of the European Tobacco Products Directive of 2014 which it transposes. The snus maker had argued that the prohibition of the product under the 2014 Directive was discriminatory and had become invalid by failing to take into account developments in scientific knowledge, and developments “in the regulatory framework applicable to tobacco products which have taken place since the earlier judgments of the Court,” the statement explained.
The Advocate General, whose opinion follows the January court hearing but precludes a final judgement by the court, said he found “the EU legislature did not exceed the limits of its discretion in finding that tobacco for oral use is addictive and harmful to health in so far as it increases the risks of certain harmful effects and may increase the risks of other harmful effects.”
“The effectiveness of tobacco for oral use as an aid for giving up smoking has not been established,” the statement read.
The court’s decision on the case is expected to be known by October.