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Newspapers are alleging widespread use of snus by Premiership footballers, e.g. the Daily Mail “The drug that is swamping football".
 
Snus is little known in the UK because it is banned but in Norway it has been the key to reducing smoking among young women from 30% to just 1% in the last 16 years. In Sweden smoking has collapsed to 5% among adults, due to widespread snus use. 
 
The key question is whether it carries lower health risks than smoking. 
 
In answering that today’s Sun described snus is a "poison in the mouth" and "unequivocally a bad thing” with a campaigner quoted as saying "whether you jump from the tenth storey of a building or the 20th, the effect is the same” as smoking. 
 
Yet according to the world’s most respected public health bodies and scientists that is completely wrong. Action on Smoking and Health says it is 100 times less harmful than smoking. The WHO says it is “considerably less hazardous” and the EU says the lower risks are “undeniable.” A report in the Lancet last year found no evidence of harm caused by decades of widespread snus use “for any health outcome.”
 
“Smokers who are choosing alternatives to smoking need to hear real experts,not the nonsense on stilts served up by publicity hungry campaigners,” said Sarah Jakes, Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance, a charity which campaigns for better understanding of risk-reduced nicotine products.
 
Contact: Sarah Jakes, phone: 0300 30 20029
 
SOURCES
 
Health Impact of Snus
 
Action on Smoking and Health: “the contradictory, illogical law on tobacco… leaves cigarettes legal while snus, which is over 100 times less harmful, is banned.” http://ash.org.uk/media-and-news/press-releases-media-and-news/eu-ruling-on-smokeless-tobacco-shows-need-for-independent-tobacco-regulation/
 
World Health Organisation: Swedish snus is “considerably less hazardous than cigarettes”. Page 273 http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_interaction/tobreg/publications/9789241209519.pdf
 
European Union: “It is undeniable that for an individual substitution of tobacco smoking by the use of moist snuff would decrease the incidence of tobacco related diseases.” page 14 http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_013.pdf
 
US Food and Drug Administration: authorised snus after exhaustive testing. http://www.cspdailynews.com/category-news/tobacco/articles/fda-ruling-win-swedish-match
 
The Lancet: Global Burden of Disease Study, 2017: No evidence of harm being done by long-term use of snus ”for any health outcome” page1364.  http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(17)32366-8.pdf
 
Oral cancer: for snus “no overall association is seen for oropharyngeal cancer”.  See section 3.1 Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21163315
 
Trends in Smoking
Norway 1% smoking rate: among young women smoking fell from 30% to 1% in sixteen years: Norwegian Smoking Data (select data using tick icons and then download to Excel). https://www.ssb.no/en/statbank/table/05307/?rxid=fba52324-e745-43b1-8740-058b118535f6
 
Norway Vaping Ban: Nicotine containing e-cigarettes have been illegal in Norway - although the government has now decided to legalize e-cigarettes. https://www.fhi.no/en/op/hin/risk--protective-factors/royking-og-snusbruk-i-noreg/#ecigarettes
 
Norway Snus Use: Use among young women in Norway grew from 5% to 14% in six years. For Norwegian snus data select data using tick icons and then download to Excel. https://www.ssb.no/en/statbank/table/07692/?rxid=fba52324-e745-43b1-8740-058b118535f6
 
Sweden Snus Use: Snus is legal in Sweden and 20% of people are daily users of oral/chewed/nasal tobacco. See footnote on page 73 of EU Eurobarometer 2017. http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/SPECIAL/surveyKy/2146
 
Sweden Smoking Fall: Daily smoking fell in Sweden from 8% to 5% over the last three years. See page 27 of  EU Eurobarometer 2017. http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/SPECIAL/surveyKy/2146
 
 
UK 16% smoking rate: see UK Smoking Data (download spreadsheet and click link to Table 1).  https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/drugusealcoholandsmoking/datasets/adultsmokinghabitsingreatbritain