Snus smuggling: a business worth millions

The smuggling of snus is again making headlines in Finland not only because it’s big business, but also because trafficking the substance is spreading the coronavirus.

Hannu Sinkkonen, director at the Finnish customs, guessed that the smuggling and black-market trading in Finland could be a business worth tens of millions of euros, during an interview with broadsheet Kaleva on Monday (30 June).

Back in 1992, the EU banned the sale of snus following WHO recommendations, saying the substance contains cancer-inducing components.

However, Sweden, as part of its EU membership negotiations, was successful in being granted permission to sell snus within its own borders as long as it would block its sales to other EU member states.

For Finland, sales were prohibited when the country joined the Union in 1995.

However, according to legislation currently in force, Finns may import a kilo of snus for their own use but cannot import it for re-sale or gifting purposes.

Yet, because surveillance at the Swedish border has not been effective, the drug is openly brought to Finland via social media, especially in Haaparanta, a town on the Finnish-Swedish border.

Recently, however, the new coronavirus infections in the north-western part of Finland were said to be the result of such illegal trafficking.

Already, some politicians are raising doubts over the preventive legislation. Health issues aside, the state is currently losing hefty tax revenues from snus sales to Sweden. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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