1 Department of Public Health - Sport Science, Department of Public Health, Health, Aarhus University2 Department of Public Health - Sport Science, Department of Public Health, Health, Aarhus University
It has been a constant struggle against EU bureaucrats, this business of the Swedish snus. Already three years before Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, the EU banned the sale of Swedish snus in the Union. At the Swedish membership negotiations, Sweden managed to obtain a permanent exemption from the ban directive, so that at least the Swedes could go on with their filthy habit. But ever since, the Swedish government – and Swedish Match, the largest Swedish snus producer – have argued for a repeal of the ban on snus. And the Swedes have a strong argument, in fact the strongest possible in the EU context – that the ban is contrary to the free movement of goods and services within the Union. The argument from the EU that snus is harmful is blatantly hypocritical – a cigarette, anyone? The EU Tobacco Directive is presently being revised, and the Swedish government is on the case. We’ll know what comes out of it by 2012. But, as if this isn’t enough, WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, has started rummaging around in the snusbox. Snus consumption might be doping! They don’t say it straight out, but WADA has added nicotine to the products it monitors closely; smokers are not to worry, though, it only concerns oral tobacco products, primarily snus. A lot of people are rolling their eyes at this, among them Ask Vest Christiansen, who, from his position at the Department of Sport Science in Århus, keeps a watchful eye and a critical look at WADA’s many excesses. In a column that was previously published on the Department’s doping website, Christiansen wisely and entertainingly reasons his way towards what seems like a perfectly rational explanation for WADA’s snus alarm.