What is The Snus Commission?
The Snus Commission is an independent commission that produces reports on issues related to Swedish snus. The Commission is financed by the Swedish Association of Snus Manufacturers – a coalition of companies in Sweden that manufacture, market and sell snus. However, since the Commission’s reports, analyses and conclusions are independent of its financiers, those financiers have not been able to read the report in advance nor provide feedback on the contents of the report.
In May 2016, The Snus Commission released its first report: ”The health effects of snus”. The report assessed current research into the alleged health effects of snus, and noted that using snus does not raise the risk of either cancer or heart and cardiovascular diseases. The Snus Commission also produced a number of recommendations for politicians in the report. A second report was released in December 2016: “The State’s issue with snus – the link between information and health”. This report described the political proposals to limit commercial freedom of expression, such as exposure bans and neutral tobacco packaging, and how these proposals would negatively affect snus consumption and consumers’ ability to obtain correct information.
In June 2017, the third report, Snus saves lives: A study of snus and tobacco-related mortality in the EU, was released. This report demonstrates the difference between the current level of tobacco-related mortality in EU countries and the level that would have been achieved had all other EU countries adopted the same tobacco consumption patterns as in Sweden. The report shows that Sweden has the lowest tobacco-related mortality rate of all EU countries relative to its population size. As compared with Sweden, tobacco-related mortality rates are more than twice as high relative to population size in 24 of the other 27 EU member states. In total and among men over the age of 30, 355,000 lives per year could have been saved if the other EU countries had matched Sweden’s tobacco-related mortality rate. Snus enables Sweden to have a uniquely low number of smokers, and it is difficult to ignore the connection between the low level of smokers and the uniquely low tobacco-related mortality rate. In other words, the tobacco-related mortality rate would have been lower across the EU today had snus been permitted within the union over the past few decades.