In Sweden, smokers have another option – Snus



I tried to quit smoking this month. I lasted a decidedly unimpressive five days. I have tried all the remedies – patches, gums and going cold turkey – but none of them worked. Meeting friends for a patch and a pint down the pub or joining a colleague for a stick of nicotine gum after work just doesn’t have the same social appeal as smoking.

In Sweden, ex-smokers have another option: Snus, small bags of moist tobacco that are placed under your top lip. Consumed in Scandinavia since the mid-19th century, the popularity of Snus rose significantly from the 1970s onwards, as people became increasingly aware of the dangers of smoking. The proportion of male smokers fell dramatically from 40% in 1976 to just 15% in 2002. Almost a third of ex-smokers used Snus when quitting, and those who did were about 50% more likely to succeed. Continue reading


Peter Mandelson: Government putting UK interests at risk

Peter Mandelson argued passionately for greater British engagement in Europe at a debate last Thursday on the implications of further Eurozone integration for the UK. He criticised David Cameron for threatening to veto the upcoming EU budget, which he said amounted to saying the UK’s opening position will be its final position, thus “leaving no scope for negotiation.” With vital British interests at stake, particularly regarding the planned Eurozone banking union, Mandelson argued that it was crucial for the UK to shape legislation on financial services as much as possible. He therefore stressed that “rigid positions and veto threats won’t help to ingratiate ourselves, negotiate effectively and protect British interests.” Continue reading

Why the EU deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU on Friday was met with predictable derision from the likes of Nigel Farage, who described it the decision as “baffling,” and leader of the Tory MEPs  Martin Callanan, who said it was “a little late for an April Fools’ Joke.”  Admittedly, the current social unrest across Southern Europe made the award seem a little incongruous, especially coming just days after Angela Merkel’s visit to Greece was met with violent protests in Athens. Yet in fact, this was precisely the logic behind the decision by the Norwegian committee, as explained in their statement; that in these times of instability it is especially important to remember the EU’s contribution to peace and prosperity on the continent. In this way the award serves both as a timely reminder of what the EU has achieved, and as a warning of what could happen if it were to collapse. Continue reading