– A gift for grocery kings – E24

– A gift for grocery kings – E24

A market worth around one billion crowns could be organised.

Possible ban: Eric Volent grows his own snus on the farm outside Trondheim.  Snowsbünden will lose its premium sales channel if the government gets its way.
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In order to prevent illegal products from entering Norway, and to give children and young people less access to tobacco products, the government will put an end to the sale of tobacco online.

“A ban on online sales would be in line with the government’s goal of achieving a tobacco- and nicotine-free generation,” the health ministry wrote in the memo, which was recently sent out for consultation.

That could affect a number of Norwegian companies that have focused on this particular market. Among them is Snussponden. Trøndelag is behind the only tobacco brand produced in Norway since World War II. Snuss farmer Erik Volent says about 90 percent of sales are made online.

– He says: – We fear that our entire Norwegian sustainable adventure will end in the blink of an eye.

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A gift worth hundreds of millions of dollars

Volent does not believe the ban will have any impact on overall wet tobacco sales.

He believes that the only result will be a return of turnover to traditional channels.

Swedish-owned Snushjem is the largest player. The company's turnover exceeded NOK 800 million last year.

With the ban, most of those sales will be shifted back to grocery stores and kiosks, Volent says.

– For many years there has been talk about the need for more competition in the grocery market, but now the Minister of Health wants to put a gift of hundreds of millions in the pockets of the grocery kings.

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You hardly have teenage clients.

Communications Director Markus Lindblad at Snushjem believes the argument in the proposal does not hold up.

The Government indicates its ambition that today's children will not become users of tobacco and nicotine products.

– Half a percent of our Norwegian customers are 18 years old and one percent are 19 years old. This suggests that young people don't think online shopping is a good solution, Lindblad says.

He claims that online shopping is the safest form of sales as all purchases must be made using BankID.

– Last year we had 800,000 transactions. Of these complaints, we received two complaints regarding sales to minors. When we investigated the cases, it turned out that they were resales.

– Don't you think snuff sales will drop if the channel is closed?

– In this case, all sales can be blocked. Now they want to ban the safest and least attractive channel for young people.

– silly

Snushjem, by its own estimates, has almost 80 percent of the market share of online sales in Norway. They calculate that one fifth of tobacco sales are made online.

However, the company was not invited to participate in the hearing.

“The government wants to close us down without hearing our voice,” Lindblad says.

He believes the government has too narrow a focus on this issue.

– It's all about protecting young people from nicotine addiction. No one talks about how many lives are saved by switching from smoking to other products.

Snowgame has supported a ban on cross-border sales, but believes the existing proposal “doesn't make sense.”

– I do not think that the political leadership in the ministry knows what they are talking about. It is as if the government has been hijacked by bureaucrats at the Health Directorate.

– What do you do if it passes?

– We haven't thought about it yet. But I think many in Parliament have understood how absurd it is to ban legal business.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare responded to E24 that it was a coincidence that Snoshgym was not on the list of advisory bodies. This will be corrected. Lindblad's other statements were not commented on.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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