Christian Engström is a Swedish former Member of European Parliament (MEP) (2009-2014), who was a member of the Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO).
Opposing the EU Snus Sales Ban
In 2009 the European Commission launched a review of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), the piece of legislation that regulates tobacco products in Europe, including a Swedish smokeless tobacco called snus, of which sales have been banned in all EU Member States bar Sweden.
- To read more about the snus sales ban, click Snus: EU Ban on Snus Sales
”Snus serves as a substitute for smoking”
Engström was a vocal advocate for lifting the EU snus sales ban, arguing that snus is a Harm Reduction tool and serves as a substitute for smoking. In a blog post in February 2013, Engstrӧm declared that “I am a snus user, which has allowed me to cut down my smoking drastically, even though I have not stopped completely yet”.
Claims of Corruption
Following the lobbying scandal known as ‘Dalligate’, which saw Health Commissioner John Dalli forced to resign in October 2012 following a bribery allegation made by snus manufacturer Swedish Match, Engstrӧm used the controversy to discredit the Commission and the TPD review process, questioning the validity of the snus ban, and claiming that the snus sales ban was a product of corruption:
- ”The Commission refuses to present facts because it doesn’t have any. This strengthens the suspicions that commissioner Dalli, who was forced to resign over the issue, was planning to let he [sic] future of snus be determined by bribes”
Besides Engström and a handful of other MEPs, it was mainly the tobacco industry which lobbied to have the snus ban removed. Contrary to Engstrӧm’s claims, there is no evidence that the Dalligate controversy influenced the Commission’s position on snus in any way. In addition, Member States other than Sweden had no appetite to lift the snus ban, and similarly, in October 2013 the European Parliament upheld the ban. In April 2014, the EU adopted the revised TPD which maintains the ban on snus sales in all EU Member States but Sweden.
- To read more about the TPD review and the tobacco industry attempts to weaken it, click EU Tobacco Products Directive Revision
Related TobaccoTactics Resources
- C. Engstrӧm, I Finally Met The Anti-Snus Lobbyists, 25 February 2013, accessed March 2015
- C. Engstrӧm EU Commission Refuses to Present Facts Behind Snus Ban, 4 December 2012, accessed March 2015
- European Commission, Commission Staff Working Document Impact Assessment, 19 December 2012, accessed March 2015
- European Commission Health & Consumers Directorate-General, 8th Meeting of the Regulatory Committee established under Article 10 of the Tobacco Products Directive 2001/37/EC, Summary Record, 16 April 2008, accessed March 2015