snus

Top EU official resigns after snus bribe probe

Source: www.thelocal.se

A complaint by Swedish Match about a suspected bribe meant to influence European tobacco policy has resulted in the resignation of EU health commissioner John Dalli, the European Union’s top health official.

“Commissioner John Dalli has today announced his resignation as a member of the Commission, with immediate effect,” the European Commission announced in a statement released on Tuesday.

Dalli’s resignation, the first for a member of the Commission since 1999, came following the release on Monday of report detailing the findings of an investigation carried out by the EU’s anti-fraud office, OLAF, into a complaint filed by Swedish tobacco company Swedish Match in May 2012.

The complaint alleged that a Maltese entrepreneur sought to leverage his connections with Dalli, also of Malta, in order to “gain financial advantages” from Swedish Match in exchange for attempting to influence “a possible future legislative proposal on tobacco products, in particular on the EU export ban on snus”.

Snus – also known as Swedish snuff – is a tobacco product invented in Sweden in the early 1800s which has gained in popularity in Sweden after smoking was banned in restaurants in 2005. The sale of snus is outlawed in the European Union, but due to exemptions, it is still manufactured and consumed primarily in Norway and Sweden.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumers Protection recently unveiled a proposal that would ban all smoke-free tobacco products outside of Sweden. The Swedish government has for years been trying to sway the EU to allow snuff to be exported in Europe, referring to laws on free movement as well as public health.

“It turns out the snus ban was for sale,” Swedish Match spokesperson Patrik Hildingsson told the Aftonbladet newspaper following the news of Dalli’s resignation.

According to Hildingsson, the Maltese businessman came to a meeting and said that “we can solve this for a sum of money”.

“It’s remarkable; it’s not in our DNA or our culture to accept something like this,” said Hildingsson, refusing to elaborate on exactly how much money was mentioned in the offer.

OLAF found that “no transaction was concluded” between Swedish Match and the Maltese entrepreneur and “no payment was made”.

“The OLAF report did not find any conclusive evidence of the direct participation of Mr. Dalli but did consider that he was aware of these events,” the Commission statement said.

The investigation also found that the Commission’s decision-making process “had not been affected” by the matter, but Dalli nevertheless chose to resign “in order to be able to defend his reputation and that of the Commission”.

“Mr. Dalli categorically rejects these findings,” the Commission said, adding that the OLAF report will be forwarded to the Attorney General of Malta who must determine if and how to pursue the matter.

Swedish MEP Christoffer Fjelllner of the Moderate Party who has long advocated for a lifting of the EU’s snus ban said Dalli’s resignation was “very serious and frightening”.

“I get disappointed when I realize that my facts and arguments have likely been in vain,” he said in a statement.

“Corruption at the top of the EU system undermines not only confidence in EU legislation, but also in the EU as an institution.”

Following Dalli’s resignation, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso announced that Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic will take over the health portfolio pending the appointment of a new Maltese Commissioner.

October, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Researchers Identify Chemical Linked to Oral Cancer Risk in Smokeless Tobacco

By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 22, 2012 — Dip, chew, snuff, and other types of smokeless tobacco are known to increase risk for oral cancer. Now new research in rats is zeroing in on exactly how this may occur.

The findings were presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.

The newly identified cancer-causing culprit in these products is (S)-NNN. It is part of a larger family of chemicals called nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are also found in such foods as beer and bacon. They form naturally in the stomach when people eat foods containing high levels of nitrite. Nitrosamine levels in smokeless tobacco are far higher than in food, according to a prepared statement.

Researchers fed rats a low dose of two forms of chemicals found in smokeless tobacco for 17 months. The doses were about equivalent to a person who used half a tin of smokeless tobacco every day for 30 years. (S)-NNN seemed to cause large numbers of oral and esophageal tumors in the rats, the study shows.

“There is a very specific oral carcinogen in smokeless tobacco and it is potent,” says researcher Silvia Balbo, PhD. She is a cancer researcher at the Masonic Cancer Center of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

This compound is found in all smokeless tobacco products, including those that look like breath mints, strips, or candy, and “snus,” which are pouches filled with tobacco that are placed between the upper lip and gum. E-cigarettes or vapors do not contain tobacco and do not fall into this category.

Is Smokeless Tobacco the Lesser of Two Evils?

Traditional cigarettes also have this cancer-causing chemical, but the risk for oral cancer may be related to what smokeless tobacco products do when they sit in the mouth versus when they are burnt and inhaled.

Balbo says the next step is to understand how, or if, the study findings apply to humans.

Many people may view smokeless tobacco products as safe as or safer than cigarettes. “We see more and more advertising for these products and they are not as badly viewed as smoking, but they are not harmless,” she says.

“Is jay walking safer than jay walking blindfolded?” asks Nathan Cobb, MD. He is a research investigator at the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at the American Legacy Foundation and a pulmonologist at Georgetown University, both in Washington D.C.

“You are not going to get lung cancer from them, but you will be at higher risk for other types of cancer,” he says.

We knew it was harmful, but we didn’t know exactly how until now, says Richard B. Hayes, PhD. He leads the division of epidemiology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.

“This study identifies an agent in smokelesss tobacco that causes cancer in animal models,” he says. But this is not to say that it’s the only one. Hayes likens this to earlier hopes that adding filters to cigarette tips would lower smoking risks. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite pan out.

“I would be concerned that people will think that taking this ingredient away would eliminate all risks and we do not know if that is true.”

Gilbert Ross, MD, medical director of the American Council on Science and Health in New York City, is an advocate of harm reduction and can see a use for smokeless tobacco, though. “Allowing smokers to get help in quitting their lethal addiction via safer nicotine delivery systems such as snus or e-cigarettes will reduce the huge toll of smoking,” he says.

Ninety-eight percent of tobacco-related disease is caused by smoking cigarettes, Ross says via email.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary, as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

August, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Swedish Match Announces Market Expansion for General Snus

Swedish Match today announced it has expanded into 7 additional US markets with its General brand Swedish snus. General is the number #1 selling snus in the world and the flagship brand for Swedish Match. Now General will be available in convenience stores and tobacco outlets in the metropolitan areas of New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Denver, Nashville and throughout the state of Ohio with its two new flavors in the product assortment, Nordic Mint and Classic Blend. Those flavors were launched in Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia in mid-2011.

“These particular markets were chosen because they meet a number of important criteria to maximize the success of the General brand – from local smoking restrictions to the number of adult tobacco consumers and the potential opportunity for the snus category as a whole,” according to Clark Darrah, Vice President Next Generation Products.

General is authentic Swedish snus crafted from a sophisticated blend of premium tobaccos using a unique GothiaTek® production process ensuring the highest measure of quality. Snus is sold in pouches that are placed inconspicuously under the user’s upper lip, and is a form of smokefree and spit free tobacco that is popular among white-collar professionals throughout Scandinavia, where it first originated in the early 19th century. While the category is still young in the United States, snus has enjoyed tremendous growth of over 225% since its first introduction domestically in 2006 and is now about 6% of the smokeless tobacco category.

Darrah adds, “Adult tobacco consumers are increasingly looking for discrete, satisfying alternatives to traditional smokeless tobacco and cigarettes. Swedish snus and the General brand in particular has been the number one choice for discrete tobacco satisfaction among millions of Swedes for decades and now American consumers are finding it to be a superior choice to traditional American smokeless products.”

Promotional support for the market expansion will include extensive print and on-line advertisement as well as direct mail, sampling events and a word of mouth program—The General’s Club. More details on the General’s Club will be announced at a later date.
About General: General Snus, the worldwide leader, is a smokeless tobacco which has been enjoyed for more than 150 years. General Snus is fresh, discrete and the ultimate in pure tobacco satisfaction. Go to www.generalsnus.com to learn more.

About Swedish Match: Swedish Match develops, manufactures and sells market-leading brands in the product areas of Snus and American Moist Snuff, Other Tobacco Products (US mass market cigars and chewing tobacco) and Lights. Some of our well known brands in the US include Red Man, Timber Wolf, Longhorn, General, Garcia y Vega and White Owl. For more information visit the website at www.SwedishMatch.com .

SOURCE Swedish Match North America

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

April, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Tobacco Makers Must List Ingredients, Prove Safety Claims

Source: Businessweek.com

Tobacco companies will have to begin reporting the amount of unsafe chemicals in their products and prove their so-called lower-risk alternatives to smoking such as snuff are actually safer, U.S. regulators said.

The Food and Drug Administration moved today to implement pieces of a 2009 law giving the agency the authority to regulate tobacco products. The FDA released preliminary guidelines for the industry that it says can educate consumers on exactly what is in cigarettes, such as ammonia and formaldehyde, and police claims that certain tobacco products may be safer than others.

The agency will share information on chemical amounts with the public within a year, Lawrence Deyton, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a telephone call with reporters. On the issue of less-risky tobacco items, the draft guidelines set up two categories: one with a higher evidence standard that lets companies claim less harm than cigarettes; and another with a lower standard that permits companies to market products as reducing exposure to unsafe ingredients.

“We are forging new territory to ensure that tobacco companies provide accurate information and do not mislead American consumers,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. “We are committed to stopping such practices that may cause people to start or continue using tobacco products that could lead to preventable disease and death.”

93 Chemicals

The FDA released a list of 93 chemicals that tobacco makers would have to report the quantity of in their products. The FDA is studying how best to disseminate the information publicly.

“Most people do understand tobacco use is harmful,” Deyton said. “There are also studies that people don’t really understand why to the extent the various chemicals in tobacco are harmful.”

The agency said in the draft on reduced-risk products — which include electronic cigarettes, tobacco lozenges, snuff and snus — that it’s asking for scientific information, including research findings related to a manufacturer’s claim, and may request data comparing the product with cigarettes.

Products in the two categories will be asked to show reduced risk and a benefit to the health of tobacco and non- tobacco users before companies can market them as safer, according to the draft guidelines. The companies also could advertise the products as offering less exposure to harmful ingredients if they prove that future studies may reveal a reduction in disease and death when compared with cigarettes.

Snuff Warnings

Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) (RAI) and its American Snuff unit asked the FDA in July to change labels on smokeless products to: “WARNING: No tobacco product is safe, but this product presents substantially lower risks to health than cigarettes.” Current labels say the product isn’t a safe alternative to cigarettes.

Altria Group Inc. (MO) (MO), which owns Philip Morris USA and brands including Copenhagen and Skoal, wrote the agency “there is overwhelming scientific, medical and public health consensus that moist smokeless tobacco products” such as snuff or snus, “are substantially less hazardous than cigarettes.”

Snuff and snus are moist powder tobacco that goes under the lip either loose or in a packet.

Shares of Richmond, Virginia-based Altria gained less than 1 percent to $30.87 at the close in New York, while Winston- Salem, North Carolina-based Reynolds increased 1.2 percent to $41.46. Star Scientific Inc. (CIGX) (CIGX) fell 2.4 percent to $3.28.

Scientific Evidence

Star Scientific filed an application with FDA in February 2011 to market its snuff product Stonewall Moist-BDL. Star, based in Glenn Allen, Virginia, said in a statement then that it was the first FDA application for approval of a tobacco product.

Smokeless tobacco can cause mouth cancer, oral health diseases and nicotine addiction, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 3.5 percent of U.S. adults used smokeless tobacco in 2009. Skoal held 25 percent of the market share the same year, followed by Copenhagen with 24 percent, according to the CDC.

Independent third parties should be required to assess the health effects of modified-risk tobacco products before companies submit applications for review to the FDA, the Institute of Medicine in Washington, which advises the nation on health matters, recommended in a December report.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

April, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

UPDATE 1-Swedish Match pushes ahead with snus in the U.S

Source: Reuters.com

STOCKHOLM, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Tobacco products group Swedish Match will step up promotion of moist Swedish-style snuff, called snus, in the United States this year where it expect the market to grow faster than its Scandinavian home territory.

Snus, a tobacco product put under the lip and sucked, mostly in pouches, is the group’s main cash cow, sold mainly in Scandinavia.

Swedish Match wants to differentiate itself in the larger U.S. market by growing sales of snus, which is pasteurized and has a different texture and taste to fermented U.S.-style snuff.

“During 2012, we will continue to invest for growth. In the U.S. we will expand distribution and invest further in marketing activities …,” said Swedish Match, which is the largest producer of snus in Sweden. The product is banned in the rest of the European Union.

Swedish Match, a rival to Altria Group Inc, Reynolds American Inc and BAT., also makes cigars.

Marketing costs for snus in the U.S. weighed on fourth-quarter profit, the group said on Wednesday. Operating profit fell to 1.02 billion crowns ($153.6 million) from a year-earlier 1.42 billion, against a mean forecast for 1.03 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts.

It said significantly higher international snus investments weighed on the profit margin for snuff and snus, which make up more than half of profit. The margin fell to 45.9 percent from 48.1 percent, well below a forecast for 47.6 percent.

As well as aiming at the U.S. market, its venture with Phillip Morris , SMPM International, planned to trial snus in at least one more market this year, after tests in the Russian city of St Petersburg, Taiwan and Canada.

Chief Executive Lars Dahlgren told Reuters he expected the U.S. snuff market to grow 5 percent this year, against 6 percent in 2011, and the Scandinavian market to grow by at least 3 percent, against 5-6 percent in 2011.

He said the group would spend 60-100 million crowns more this year on marketing snus outside Scandinavia. Swedish Match said volume at its second key business, U.S. mass-market cigars, was up 14 percent.

“In the U.S. mass market cigar business … we expect to continue to grow faster than the overall market and generate increased sales and profits in local currency,” it said.

Swedish Match increased it dividend slightly more than expected, to 6.50 crowns. Its shares were up 3 percent by 0950 GMT, while the broader market in Stockholm was down. ($1 = 6.6396 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Erica Billingham)

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

February, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

How online sales and promotion of snus contravenes current European Union legislation

Source: BMJ Journal

 

Abstract

Context The European Union (EU) Tobacco Products Directive that bans sales of snus (a form of oral tobacco) in EU countries other than Sweden is currently under review. Major tobacco companies favour the ban being overturned. This study aims to explore compliance with the current ban on snus sales and examines the conduct of online snus vendors, including their compliance with two other EU Directives on excise and tobacco advertising and Swedish legislation banning sales of snus outside Sweden.

Methods To determine who is currently distributing snus via the internet in the EU, searches were carried out in Google, followed by searches in the WHOIS and Amadeus databases. Five online test purchases of snus were made in each of 10 EU Member States using a standardised protocol. Feedback from the test purchases and further analysis of the websites accessed for test purchases were used to critically examine snus retailers’ conduct.

Results The majority of online vendors operate from Sweden and target non-Swedish EU citizens. Test purchases were successfully made in all 10 EU Member States; of 43 orders placed, only two failed. Age verification relied only on self-report. The majority of sales applied Swedish taxes, contrary to EU requirements. Copious sales promotion activities, many price based, are incorporated in these websites contravening the EU regulation, and three test purchases were delivered with gifts.

Conclusions Snus is currently being sold on the single market via the internet in contravention of Swedish legislation and three EU Directives. The apparent willingness of the tobacco industry to contravene EU and Swedish legislation and profit from unlawful sales raises questions about their status as stakeholders in consultations on future policy developments. The findings highlight how national and regional tobacco control legislation can be undermined in an increasingly globalised world.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

January, 2012|Oral Cancer News|

Kentucky Cancer Center Urges Smokers to Switch to Smoke-Free Tobacco. But is it Really a Better Option?

Source: Yourlife.USAtoday.com

In the smoker-heavy state of Kentucky, a cancer center is suggesting something that most health experts won’t and the tobacco industry can’t: If you really want to quit, switch to smoke-free tobacco.

The James Graham Brown Cancer Center and the University of Louisville are aiming their “Switch and Quit” campaign at the city of Owensboro. It uses print, radio, billboard and other advertising to urge smokers to swap their cigarettes for smokeless tobacco and other products that do not deliver nicotine by smoke.

Supporters say smokers who switch are more likely to give up cigarettes than those who use other methods such as nicotine patches, and that smokeless tobacco carries less risk of disease than cigarettes do.

“We need something that works better than what we have,” said Dr. Donald Miller, an oncologist and director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, which supports the effort along with the University of Louisville. “This is as reasonable a scientific hypothesis as anybody has come up with and it needs to be tried.”

The campaign runs counter to the prevailing opinion of the public health community, which holds that there is no safe way to use tobacco. Federal researchers, however, have begun to at least consider the idea that smokers might be better off going smokeless.

The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health says on its website that the use of all tobacco products “should be strongly discouraged,” and that there is “no scientific evidence that using smokeless tobacco can help a person quit smoking.” But this year it approved funding for a study that might provide some of that very evidence.

“Switch and Quit” is directed by Brad Rodu, a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville. He analyzed the 2000 National Health Interview Survey and found that male smokers who switched to smokeless tobacco were more likely to quit smoking than those who used nicotine patches or gum.

“Americans are largely misinformed about the relative risks. … They think smokeless tobacco is just as dangerous,” Rodu said. “This level of misinformation is an enormous barrier to actually accomplishing tobacco-harm reduction because if people believe that the products have equal risk, there’s not a real incentive.”

The program is funded through Rodu’s research money, which includes grants from the tobacco industry. Grants through the University of Louisville are unrestricted, which the program says “ensures the scientific independence and integrity of research projects and activities.”

“There’s absolutely no influence whatsoever,” Rodu said. “I decide, along with my colleagues, how we use the money, for what projects, and this is entirely the case. I would not have a situation where there was some control over the kind of projects I undertake.”

Tobacco companies want to market more smokeless tobacco and other cigarette alternatives to make up for falling cigarette sales. Some have introduced “snus” — small pouches like tea bags that users stick between the cheek and gum — and dissolvable tobacco — finely milled tobacco shaped into orbs, sticks and strips.

But they’re barred by federal law from explicitly marketing them as less risky than cigarettes — at least for now. That means the “Switch and Quit” program can do something the tobacco industry itself cannot: claim that smokeless tobacco has a health benefit when compared to smoking.

The program says smoking kills about 220 adults a year in and around Owensboro. The state of Kentucky, a leading tobacco grower, has the nation’s highest smoking and lung cancer rates.

Owensboro and the surrounding area consume about 3 million cigarettes a week, according to the program. That amounts to well over a pack for every man, woman and child in the community of about 115,000 people.

Owensboro resident Vernon Goode had smoked for about 10 years before he recently traded his Marlboros for dissolvable tobacco tablets. The campaign didn’t inspire him to quit, but he said he thought it was a good idea.

“I was just wanting to quit because, you know, I could feel it in my lungs,” Goode said. “I’ll smoke a cigarette every once in a while, but not very often. I want to quit altogether and I’m just using this right here as I guess what you’d call a stepping stone.”

The Owensboro program has raised concerns among some in the public health community who say organizers are claiming smokeless tobacco is a healthier alternative to smoking without approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

A 2009 law gives the FDA authority to evaluate health risks of tobacco products and approve those that could be marketed as safer than what’s currently for sale. None have been given the OK yet. The FDA also plans to regulate electronic cigarettes, battery-powered plastic and metal devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge, creating vapor that users inhale.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called the program “a giant experiment with the people of Owensboro without rules or guidance designed to protect individuals from experimental medicine.”

Smokeless tobacco isn’t a safe alternative to cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health warnings on the products required by the FDA state the same thing.

However, some studies, including a 2007 report from the Royal College of Physicians in London titled “Harm Reduction in Nicotine Addiction,” suggest that some smokeless tobacco products are about 90 percent less harmful than cigarettes.

“The worst that you can say about smokeless tobacco is that it’s the lesser of two evils,” said Dr. Randall Thomas, an oncologist with the Owensboro Medical Health System. The health system, the community’s largest employer, is going smoke-free in 2013 and is offering Rodu’s program as one of a variety of quit-smoking tools for its employees.

“I don’t think we have any problem in telling a person that drinks a six-pack a day that if they could cut it back to two beers a day or two drinks a day that their health risks are greatly reduced,” Thomas said. “Finding a way to let people have their nicotine that carries less risk, it’s the realistic solution.”

The Owensboro program doesn’t suggest pharmaceutical nicotine replacement gum or patches. That’s because they are regulated to provide very small doses of nicotine and are recommended for only a short period of time, while smokeless tobacco can be used as long as a smoker needs, Rodu said.

Myers, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said more research is needed before anyone should suggest that the nation’s 46 million smokers would be better off using smokeless tobacco. In the meantime, he said, there are a host of FDA-approved products that can help people give up smoking.

“There’s a right way and a wrong way to determine whether smokeless tobacco can and should be marketed as a way to help people quit,” Myers said.

The National Cancer Institute approved funding earlier this year for a nationwide 1,250-person study to look at whether being given a snus product changes the habits of smokers who are not motivated to quit.

The tobacco industry sees smokeless tobacco as its future, said Matthew J. Carpenter, a psychology professor at the Medical University of South Carolina who is conducting the yearlong study.

Carpenter said the snus study will examine what smokers do when given smokeless tobacco. He won’t look at the health effects, or advise smokers to use the snus to quit.

“They are probably safer than conventional cigarettes, if for no other reason than you’re not burning anything, you’re not smoking anything, you’re not inhaling any smoke,” he said.

“If you compare it to conventional cigarettes, they’re probably a little bit better. If you compare it to quitting, they’re absolutely worse.”

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

October, 2011|Oral Cancer News|

New Smokeless Tobacco from Sweden is Gaining Popularity in the US

Source: DrugFree.org

A type of smokeless tobacco popular in Sweden called snus is growing in popularity in the United States. While most recognize that it is a safer alternative to cigarettes or older forms of smokeless tobacco, others are concerned that it will attract young people, becoming a steppingstone to cigarettes, says a researcher who spoke this week at the Smokeless Tobacco Summit in Austin, TX.

There is also concern that smokers may use snus in places where they can’t smoke, which will encourage them to keep smoking instead of quitting, says Lois Biener, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology at the University Of Massachusetts – Boston and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Survey Research, University Of Massachusetts – Boston.

Snus (pronounced snoos) was first introduced in several U.S. test markets in 2006, and has been available nationwide since 2009. It is sold under several brands including Marlboro Snus and Camel Snus. The product is different from other types of smokeless tobacco in several important ways, Dr. Biener says. Snus is manufactured using a process that makes it lower in carcinogens called tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Snus also doesn’t stimulate saliva the way that snuff does and thus doesn’t require spitting. A person using snus puts a small pouch filled with the product between the lip and the gum.

Dr. Biener’s research has shown that the primary group of snus users in the United States is male smokers. “There is very little trial of the product among females and virtually no trial of it among nonsmokers,” she says.

Because snus comes in sweet and fruity flavors, public health officials are concerned that it is catching on with teens. The 2010 Monitoring the Future survey found that the use of smokeless tobacco (including snus) has started to increase significantly after years of declines. The survey found that 13 percent of 10th grade boys and 15.7 percent of 12th grade boys reported using smokeless tobacco in the previous 30 days.

Mixed Findings on Health Effects

Snus has been long been used in Sweden, where its health effects have been studied. “In Sweden, where cigarette smoking among men is low and snus use is high, we see lower levels of lung cancer among men compared with the rest of Europe and the United States,” Dr. Biener said.

One study of the health effects of snus, published in The Lancet in 2007, studied 125,000 Swedish male construction workers who had never smoked, and followed them for 12 to 26 years. The study found that snus use was associated with a slight increased risk of pancreatic cancer, but was not associated with any increased risk of oral cancer or lung cancer; cigarette smoking was significantly associated with all three.

Another study in the same issue of the journal found there was little difference in life expectancy between smokers who quit all tobacco and those who switched to snus. The researchers of that study concluded that snus could produce a net benefit to health if used by hard-core smokers. That study bolstered the argument that switching smokers to snus could reduce the harm caused by cigarettes.

Dr. Biener is conducting interviews with a representative sample of adults in Dallas/Fort Worth and Indianapolis, two early test markets for the product. There is currently no solid data on what proportion of the individuals who try Snus go on to use it regularly, and Dr. Biener hopes to answer this question. She also wants to find out whether regular snus users change their smoking patterns.

Dr. Biener and her colleagues are also looking at the level of nicotine in various snus products. “It’s likely that snus and cigarettes have comparable levels of nicotine and are comparably addictive, although the mode of delivery of the nicotine is different,” she said.

Another concern of snus critics is that using the product along with cigarettes might lead to higher levels of nicotine addiction and make it harder for people to quit smoking, a theory that she says has yet to be studied.

“People have a right to accurate information about these products,” Dr. Biener said. “It’s important that health agencies are upfront about the different level of risk and harm in different tobacco products, so that people don’t end up thinking, ‘One is just as bad as another so I might as well continue to smoke.’ Until there is more information on how people are using snus and what the impact is on their smoking, we can’t make a recommendation about its use.”

 

Sweden wants the EU to legalize snus

Source: Stockholm News

The Swedish government is now urging the EU to legalise snus (moist powder tobacco). But this has led to a quarrel between the government and its own experts in the National Board of Health and Welfare and in the Swedish National Institute for Public Health.

Since some years back, the EU is overlooking its tobacco policy – the so called tobacco directive. In its answer to the EU, the Swedish government is now openly urging the EU to legalise snus.

The argument from the Swedish government is that the ban on snus goes against the free market. Sweden’s Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Göran Hägglund writes that “there is no argument at all which motivates a ban on snus” (quote from Svenska Dagbladet) and he continues that snus is clearly less dangerous than cigarettes. Therefore he claimst that the ban on snus “lacks logic”.

But at the same time, experts in Sweden do not agree with Minister Hägglund. OCF The Swedish argument of ‘harm reduction’ with convincing smokers to insted start with snus is “a myth” according to these experts.

Internal conflict in Sweden

The problem today is that the tobacco issue has become a health issue in the EU as it has been moved to the EU’s Directorate for health. This is why is the Swedish Minister for health and not for trade is answering the letter from the EU. This has created a conflict and a dilemma between Swedish authorities.

The government’s expert organs for health issues; the National Board of Health and Welfare and the Swedish National Institute for Public Health, are both strongly negative towards snus and have warned several times for its consequences. They are careful in openly criticising the government’s letter to the EU but they are against an increased market for snus.

——————-

Facts: Snus is a moist powder tobacco, not to be confused with the dry form of tobacco, snuff inhaled through the nose.  It is most common in Sweden and Norway. It is forbidden in the EU but Sweden has an exception.

February, 2011|Oral Cancer News|

DoD asks troops to kiss the spit goodbye

Source: www.tradingmarkets.com
Author: staff

When the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) weighs in on kissing and spitting, it’s with good reason–two good reasons, in fact: love and health. Using smokeless tobacco–spit, dip, chew, snus, etc.–can pose a stinky, unsavory obstacle to sharing a kiss with a loved one, parent, child or sweetheart. It also may cause a slew of serious health problems. That’s why DoD/TRICARE(R) wants military personnel to participate in the Great American Spit Out (GASpO) on February 24, 2011, and kiss the spit goodbye for a day.

Some 19 percent of 18- to 24-year-old men in the armed forces use smokeless tobacco, more than double the national rate. To help cut that number down, the DoD Quit Tobacco–Make Everyone Proud campaign at http://www.ucanquit2.org is focusing this month on helping those who spit and chew tobacco to develop a personalized quit plan and to take action that may get them more kisses and help them gain more years of a healthy life.

“Many of our servicemen started using smokeless tobacco at a young age due to peer pressure and became addicted before realizing the negative effects it could have on their personal relationships and health,” said Cmdr. Aileen Buckler, M.D., M.P.H., U.S. Public Health Service officer and chairman of the DoD Alcohol and Tobacco Advisory Committee.

Throughout the month, the DoD website will host a special GASpO page, http://www.ucanquit2.org/facts/gaspo/, where service members can publicly post their pledge to quit. Capt. Larry N. Williams, U.S. Navy tobacco clinical cessation champion, will host an Ask the Expert forum, answering questions about smokeless tobacco. Installations planning GASpO events will find ideas, an event registration page, pledge cards and downloadable promotional materials.
Service members and their friends, family and other supporters are invited to join the GASpO event on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177051459002636. Those planning to quit can get a “Kiss me, I’m tobacco-free” badge to post on their Facebook page.

Oral cancer has been linked to smokeless tobacco use. Surgery to treat oral cancer can remove parts of the face, tongue, cheek or lip, severely damaging one’s social desirability. Those who use smokeless tobacco are marked by bulging cheeks, gunk stuck in teeth, permanently discolored teeth and spitting cups, all universally unappealing. Visitors will also find hard-hitting facts that dispel the myth that smokeless tobacco is a safe alternative to smoking. For instance, almost half of those who contract oral cancer die within 5 years, and one person dies from oral cancer every hour.

“Don’t let spitting and chewing get in the way of your personal relationships,” urged Buckler. “Take this opportunity to do something for yourself and those you love. Kiss smokeless tobacco goodbye and experience the benefits to your social life and health.”

Enrolling in the website’s comprehensive support system, Train2Quit, can be the first step in the journey to saying goodbye to smokeless tobacco. The system features interactive components such as quit tools, self-assessment questionnaires and quizzes. Service members can create a customizable quit plan with a calendar to track progress and learn how to beat cravings, overcome weight gain and cope with the effects of nicotine withdrawal. The site also has personal quit coaches, available 24/7, to answer questions about becoming tobacco-free.

February, 2011|Oral Cancer News|