Three out of four Norwegians think the tobacco product known as snus, or snuff, can cause cancer. Its popularity has been soaring, though, especially among young men.
Snuff’s rise in popularity has followed Norway’s introduction of laws that ban smoking in offices, restaurants, bars and other public places.
Many smokers, denied their cigarettes, turned to snuff instead, and producers responded by boosting production of snuff in small packets that now are often found under the lips of many young Norwegian men. And women.
Studies show that around 6 percent of the Norwegian population aged 16-74 use snuff daily. Three times as many in the age group 16 to 24 are believed to use snuff daily.
Researcher think the figures will soon reach 35 percent of the population aged 16 to 24, despite cancer fears.
A new survey conducted by polling firm Norsk Respons for a state public health program in Østfold County found that 84 percent of women and 66 percent of men questioned believe snuff can cause cancer.
Medical researchers are split on the issue, with some downplaying the risk. Others subscribe to the cancer warnings.
“We have strong indications that snuff can lead to cancer, especially cancer in oral cavities and the stomach,” said Professor Tore Sanner at the leading Norwegian cancer hospital Radiumhospitalet. The World Health Organization and American health authorities have also classified snuff as cancer-causing.