Friday, 29 July 2011

A little snus coverage

Apropos nothing, The Guardian has run a little story about a snus.

It's not snuff, it's not snout … it's Snus

Could this brown, sticky Swedish stuff save smokers from their addiction?

It is brown, sticky and can cover your teeth in discoloured drool...

Sounds real tempting so far, doesn't it? They're talking about loose snus here, which doesn't come in a bag and is therefore a messier affair. It's much less popular than pouched snus so I'm not sure why they're focusing on that, or why they use a picture of loose snus at the top of the article, but don't worry, it gets better...

– but Snus might be gaining ground as the answer for smokers wanting to give up.

Now you're talking.

Pronounced Snooss, this moist tobacco powder, made in Sweden since the 19th century, is proving a hit worldwide, with sales by manufacturer Swedish Match booming in the US and Canada.

Snus is unlike either snuff, which is sniffed, or chewing tobacco, which releases nicotine only when chomped on. Instead, users squeeze it into rabbit dropping-sized pellets...

Yes, that recognised unit of size: the rabbit dropping.

...or use pre-packed sachets that look like miniature teabags, slipping them under the upper lip for up to an hour. Absorbed into the bloodstream through the lip, Snus has a softer but longer nicotine buzz than cigarettes.

Described as "something they would use in the far northern backwoods" by fan Marcus Rosengren, well-to-do Swedes once considered the use of Snus a bit coarse. In the past 30 years, however, many have switched to it from cigarettes, giving Sweden the lowest number of smokers in Europe.

Yes indeed. The 'Swedish experience'—which could be emulated elsewhere in Europe were it not for alleged health campaigners who say they want to, er, reduce the number of people who smoke...

Meanwhile, in Europe, the Swedes are lobbying to quash an EU ban that permits the consumption of Snus but bans its sale.

As a pre-emptive plug, I should say that the bizarre history of the EU's ban on snus will make up one chapter of my forthcoming book on prohibition. It should be out in September; more details will follow.

Though Snus has been linked to raised blood pressure and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer...

Actually, the pancreatic cancer myth was pretty thoroughly debunked at the start of the year, when the biggest study ever conducted into it found no risk from snus. is not as harmful as smoking.

It is, let's be clear, somewhere in the region of 99% safer than smoking.

Sweden has the lowest rate of tobacco-related diseases in the west, and a low rate of the oral cancers Snus was once thought to encourage.

That Swedish experience again. Can we end the stupid EU ban now?

The Guardian article is welcome and fairly accurate, even if it does make snus sounds more icky than it actually is. Any exposure of the snus issue and, by extension, the folly of anti-tobacco extremists is to be encouraged, and it was good to see twitterati supremo Stephen Fry mentioning it to his three million followers.

How good of him to spread the word and how strange that tobacco control—whose only legitimate function is to help smokers who want to quit to do so—should be so reticent to speak out against the EU ban (although there are some notable, and noble, exceptions). Never forget that until recently, ASH (UK) actively supported the repeal of the ban. That was in the days before Deborah Arnott and pharma-sponsored anti-smoking conferences. I'm sure this is just a coincidence though [cough].

Finally, an amusing advert for snus I've just seen on Youtube. (Disclaimer: I'm not endorsing this particular company, I haven't tried their product and I haven't received any money from them, yadda, yadda, yadda. I just thought you might enjoy it.)


Anonymous said...

That advert must be breaking some law. Very entertaining.

Agree with you about describing the loose snus not the portion. Consumption of 3 boxes a day is untypical. The average male consumption is 12 pouches a day and there are 24 in a can.

Delivery to the UK is now possible again and with postage, currency conversion etc. works out around £4 to £5 a can. My recent consignment arrived promptly, although last year one went missing. Never found out the reason. Don't order a large amount in one go.

I mainly smoke roll-ups but, had it not been for the ban, which has put quitting on hold, I might have given up using snus. It really does do the business. Gets you through meetings, flights and train journeys. Cranberry flavour quite pleasant, but poor second to smoking.

Had a Swedish student come to my office. He saw the snus can and we got talking about it. His doctor had advised him to switch from cigs to snus when he was 18.

timbone said...

Interesting to note that Stephen Fry, who had tried in vain all the NRT attempts (always finding that he lost his ability to be creative), eventually quit via the Alan Carr method.

I can't help saying also that he shows fours years of weight gain.

Anonymous said...

Give us details Chris about your new book!