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I don’t think anyone would classify snus as a healthy supplement, but it has nevertheless created a culture that has most likely saved many Swedish lives.
“How?” you might be asking. Well, that is something I will discuss later, but in general I think there is a weakness in Swedish politicians' reluctance to talk more about Sweden's experience of tobacco use to the rest of the world.
Recently, the news agency AFP reported that the number of people dying from cancer in the United States has decreased by a third since 1991. The decrease is linked to a reduced use of cigarettes, which is a well-known factor for developing lung cancer. Reduced smoking is not something unique in the United States, but rather a global trend that is most likely due to a greater awareness of the harmful health effects that smoking comes with.
However, the United States is not a heavy smoking nation, but there are other countries that have significantly more problems with a large proportion of the population using cigarettes. Most are found in Europe, where 15 countries qualify for the top 20 list of the countries in the world that smoke the most per capita.
The big problem with smoking in Europe is something that is reflected in the statistics on the number of deaths from lung cancer in the EU.
This can be seen in the statistics on the number of deaths from lung cancer in the EU.
Within the EU, the number of deaths from lung cancer is 34 per 100,000 inhabitants. Men in the age group 50-54 are overrepresented when it comes to deaths from lung cancer.
To compare it with Sweden where smoking is relatively uncommon, the number of lung cancer-related deaths is 14 per 100,000 inhabitants. One conclusion is that in Sweden, less smoking is not only due to the cold weather, but also a result of a long snus tradition in the country.
As I mentioned in the introduction, snus is not a health food, and no one says otherwise. Snus is highly addictive, and it is something that many loyal snus users can testify to. The wonderful feeling when you take the first snus of the day is only about abstinence. That said, snus has no known health benefits and nicotine is highly addictive.
BUT! Snus is not carcinogenic. In any case, there is no research that has been able to prove it so far. When you put the above cancer statistics that you can relate to smoking and compare it to snus, it surprises me to say the least. Not the statistics perhaps, but why there is such a resistance to snus as soon as you leave Sweden. If you had gone from a smoking culture to a snus culture in the EU and the USA, it would most likely have saved lives. One would probably see a radical reduction in deaths linked to lung cancer.
Despite research and statistics, the ban on snus in the EU, which was introduced in 1992, has remained unchanged. Snus containing tobacco is banned in all EU countries with exception for Sweden.
Sweden is a well-known snus nation, and this is also where the majority of large-scale snus production takes place. Despite this, the Swedish government is not putting any effort into lifting the European snus ban. The political discussion regarding harm minimization of tobacco use does not seem to be a priority. Or are there other reasons?
Legalization of snus in the EU could be a huge opportunity to reduce harmful smoking. Another aspect of smoking is that it not only harms the user but also its surroundings.
I think there is a great deal of political hypocrisy in the opposition to discussing the legalization of snus in the EU. It is said that there are no positive health effects in snus and that more harmful products shall not be introduced to the European market. But I think they actively choose not to see it in a larger perspective. Instead, many Europeans go from cigarettes to e-cigarettes or marijuana. Is this a better road to follow?
At the same time, Sweden exports both vodka and weapons at an unabated rate. Both vodka and weapons have undoubtedly caused significantly more damage than Swedish snus.
The debate about snus should be taken seriously and Swedish politicians should talk warmly about our experiences of tobacco and spread this to our European friends. Snus can save lives.