The uptake of snus in Norway is being credited with almost eliminating cigarette smoking among young people living there.
In a note published on its website today, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) said that government figures showed the incidence of smoking among women aged 16-24 was down from 30 percent in 2001 to 0.1 percent, while the incidence of smoking among young men was down from 29 percent to three percent.
The NNA said that the fall in smoking among Norway’s young people did not appear to be the result of their switching to vaping because nicotine-containing electronic-cigarettes were only now being legalised.
A more likely explanation seems to be presented by a sharp increase that has occurred in the use of snus. During 2008-14, snus use among young women grew from five percent to 14 percent.
In neighbouring Sweden, where snus is also legal, 20 percent of the population use snus and there the adult smoking rate has fallen to five percent.
Last month the European Court of Justice held a hearing on whether the EU ban on snus outside Sweden should be lifted, an action that has been supported by the NNA.
Its trustee Professor Gerry Stimson was quoted as saying that any reasonable person looking at the spectacular graph for smoking among young Norwegians would be struck by how the fall accelerated after snus became available in 2002.
“This is no fluke,” he said. “The end of smoking is in sight in Norway and Sweden as people choose far safer snus instead.
“So reasonable people will ask why the UK government decided to urge the European Court of Justice to maintain the snus ban in the rest of the EU.”
His comments were echoed by the smoking-substitutes expert Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos who said there was absolutely no doubt that access to snus in Sweden and Norway had played a crucial role in the rapid reduction of their smoking rates.