Snus: safe but banned

| June 20, 2017

New data analysis presented on Friday at the annual Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) meeting demonstrates the potential of the low-risk tobacco product snus for reducing the impact of tobacco-related disease and death in Europe, according to a eurekalert.org story.

The GFN was held at the Marriott Centrum Hotel, Warsaw, Poland, on June 15-17.

The latest evidence, presented by Peter Lee, epidemiologist and medical statistician, indicates that the consumption of snus is at least 95 percent safer than is smoking. And analysis by Lars Ramström, a snus researcher in Sweden, showed that if snus were made available throughout the EU, where it is currently banned outside Sweden, and similar use levels to Sweden were adopted, up to 320,000 premature deaths could be avoided among men every year.

Snus use is more popular than smoking in Sweden. Its availability has led to a reduction in smoking and smoking-related diseases with the 2017 EC EuroBarometer survey showing only five percent of Swedes being daily smokers, compared with the European average of 24 percent.

Correspondingly, Swedish men have Europe’s lowest level of tobacco-related mortality, 152 per 100,000 compared with the European average of 373 per 100,000.

While 46 percent of deaths due to smoking result from respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, there is no evidence that risk of these diseases is increased by using snus. Nor does snus appear to increase the risk of other smoking related diseases including heart disease, stroke and a range of cancers.

In addition, the role of snus in both reducing initiation of smoking and increasing cessation of smoking is a key element in defeating the actual cause of tobacco-related ill-health caused by cigarette consumption.

Due to strong evidence behind snus’ potentially life-saving benefits, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), a UK consumer group supporting access to safer nicotine products, is calling for its legalization and has joined legal action case against the banning of snus, which has now been referred to the European Courts of Justice.

The Eurekalert piece is at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-06/kac-nds061517.php

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, OTP, Regulation

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