Major Swedish snus trend in the USA for health reasons
October 2019, and a sensational announcement is made by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In a press release, the FDA announced that Swedish snus would be classified as "less risky tobacco". One argument behind the decision are the health benefits derived when smokers move over to snuff, of which there is actually evidence. (The FDA does not, however, claim that snus is healthy in itself.)
The FDA's decision applies specifically to eight snus products manufactured by Swedish Match in the United States. This is the first time the FDA has taken the opportunity to classify a form of tobacco as less risky, with the decision set to have consequences on other markets too.
The decision by the FDA heralds a new era on the North American snus market, where some forms of snus may now be marketed as less harmful (though still with due warning on the packaging), a development motivated by health arguments and with a clear link to Sweden. When Swedish snus gets the label ‘less risky’ by perhaps the world's most important authority in the field, Swedish manufacturers are naturally rubbing their hands with glee after many years of lobbying for the benefits of snus compared to tobacco that is smoked.
The Swedish snus that has been given the green light in the USA remains banned in the EU (except Sweden). But even if the EU recently renewed its ban on snus in a judgment against Swedish Match, it must be said that there are developments happening, even on the ‘old continent’, in terms of the legal status of snus. Switzerland has recently lifted its ban on snus, citing health benefits, among others, for example, and in Finland there is also widespread support in parliament to lift the ban on snus, which was put in place when Finland joined the EU in 1995. Swedish snus manufacturers are of course paying close attention to developments in this area.