Sign our petition: Hands off the nicotine pouch!
16th Dec 2021
The nicotine pouch has an uncertain future in Germany. You may already have noticed that tobacco-free nicotine pouches are becoming increasingly rare in the country’s physical stores. The reason: some German courts and federal states incorrectly classify nicotine pouches as food. Since nicotine is practically not permitted in food under current law, this misinterpretation results in local sales bans.
Does this sound quite absurd? It is. Now is the time for all of us who use nicotine pouches, and us who think that risk-reducing alternatives should remain available in Germany, to protest and make our voices heard. Before it is too late.
Sign our petition, share our campaign page on social media. Say no, before the authorities take control over your can.
Nicotine pouches – what is that?
Tobacco has been consumed orally for centuries. This type of consumption is particularly popular in Sweden, Norway, and the USA. The most common product in the oral nicotine category is called “snus”; a brown tobacco pouch that is placed under the lip. The nicotine pouch is the tobacco-free version of snus and a risk-reducing alternative to the cigarette. Why is this? Because no tobacco is burned or inhaled.
What is it about?
The sale of snus has been banned in the EU since 1992. Snus without tobacco, so-called nicotine pouches, are however not currently regulated. In the past year, some German courts and federal states have begun taking action against nicotine pouches. The product has been incorrectly classified as food, which means that it is informally banned since nicotine is not a permitted food additive under current legislation.
In addition to this, there are plans for introducing a tax on e-cigarettes. According to the proposal, e-cigarettes will be taxed at € 4 ($ 4.81) per 10 ml from July 1, 2022. On January 1, 2024, the tax rate will be further increased to € 8 plus VAT, which means a total amount of € 9.52 per 10 ml. The German e-cigarette trade association, VdeH, recently organized a protest against the proposal.
Harm reduction and the role of nicotine pouches
Smoking has been a global health problem for many years. The World Health Organization defines smoking as an epidemic, killing more than 8 million people each year. 7 million of these deaths are the result of smoking and about 1.2 million of these deaths are non-smokers who have been exposed to passive smoking.
Nicotine pouches are a documented substitute for cigarettes. Sweden, where the use of snus and nicotine pouches is particularly common, has the lowest percentage of smokers in the whole of Europe (5% compared to the EU-average of 24%) and the incidence of smoking-related diseases is significantly lower than in other European countries. Risk-reducing products thus help to achieve overall public health goals, which is why it is important that the regulation enables sales and facilities for consumers to choose less harmful alternatives.
Let us make it clear: nicotine pouches are not food but tobacco-like substitutes which should be evaluated and regulated accordingly. This view is also shared by for example Sweden, where the classification of nicotine pouches has already been assessed and the National Food Administration has established that nicotine pouches are not a food product.
In order to avoid legal uncertainty, clear regulation is required that enables the sale of nicotine pouches and creates incentives for consumers to switch from cigarettes to less harmful products.
Make your voice heard
All of this can still be stopped, but it requires someone to speak up. If the development continues in the same direction, Germany will be left with no harm-reducing alternatives – and only the life-threatening cigarette. Do you also think that risk-reducing alternatives such as nicotine pouches should still be available in Germany? Make your voice heard today! Sign up for our petition. Tell them to get their hands off the nicotine pouch. Click here to participate!