As if Abba and Ikea weren't enough
Swedish Style Snus comes to
fall, BAT-Imperial Tobacco Canada chose Edmonton as the location for a test
market of an unusual brand extension for its du Maurier family. The newest
du Maurier product is not designed to be smoked, but to be parked between jaw
and cheek where nicotine can go through the mouth tissue and into the blood
Canada is the
most recent country where tobacco companies have chosen to launch snus-style
products under prominent cigarette brand names. Snus is sold in "Lucky
Strike" packaging in South Africa, and under the "Camel" brand name in some U.S.
Snus is one of
several forms of oral tobacco. A century ago, oral tobacco or nasal snuff were
common in Canada, but for the past few generations only a small percentage
(today under 2%) of tobacco users chose this form of nicotine delivery to manage
their addiction. That is to say, historically the trend has been for oral
tobacco users to progress to cigarette smoking and not the other way around.
tobacco use has been markedly different than Canada for several generations, and
men did not move from oral tobacco to cigarettes as they did in most other
western countries. Some have suggested that this may be because Sweden, as a
neutral country, did not share the "returning soldiers" experience that swelled
cigarette use. Other reasons that reduce cigarette use in Sweden are offered
currently banned in Australia, Israel and all the European Union countries other
It is too early
at time of writing (December 2007) to know how Edmonton has responded to the
introduction of snus -- but there are signs that BAT-Imperial Tobacco intends to
expand its market into some eastern municipalities.
...a form of cured and cooked tobacco mixed with salt, flavourings
and preservatives which has lower levels of cancer-causing nitrosamines than
other oral tobaccos
...packaged in loose form or in tea-bag style portions, each of which
delivers about the same level of nicotine to a user as a single cigarette
...placed in the mouth between the teeth and
the gum. Snus users do not chew or actively suck the tobacco, and do not need to
...typically held in the mouth for 30
minutes before being discarded. A typical snus user would consume about 16
sachets each day
...kept in the mouth by the average user for
11 to 14 hours per day.
Snus is different than:
moist snuff is made from grinding tobacco with water and flavourings. Unlike
snus, it is fermented rather than cooked. The fermentation process leads to
higher levels of cancer-causing nitrosamines.
but now rather archaic, nasal snuff is made from fermented and powdered tobacco,
and then inhaled up the nostril.
tobacco is dryer, sweeter and made from differently cured tobacco than snus.
Chewing tobacco is tucked between the gum and jaw and is chewed or held in
place. Saliva is spit or swallowed.
Reducing Harm or Expanding
Imperial Tobacco maintains that
the introduction of snus is a positive step, and is a form of "harm reduction"
press release they suggest that
were to copy Sweden by adopting widespread use of snus, then tobacco-caused
disease would decline.
Our analysis suggests they are wrong.
Norway are the only two countries where snus is legal and commonly used. We
compared tobacco use in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia (where all forms of
oral tobacco are banned) as well as other selected other countries and found
nothing to suggest any public health benefit from promoting snus use.
Sweden DOES NOT have lower rates of smoking than Canada.
has a slightly lower rate of daily smoking among men, the overall rate of
smoking s almost 25% higher than in Canada. The situation in Norway is almost
twice as bad.
much lower levels of tobacco addiction in Canada than in Sweden
Norway are in MUCH WORSE situations than Canada with respect to the number of
people who are addicted to tobacco (including smoking and snus use). Daily use
of tobacco products by men is twice as high in Sweden (at 37%) and Norway (at
36%) than in Canada (at 15%). Among women, daily use of tobacco products is 1.6
times higher in Sweden (at 21%), nearly double in Norway (24%) compared to
Sweden and Norway have much higher rates of youth tobacco use
aged 16-24, daily use of tobacco products among men is 2.5 times higher in
Sweden (at 37%) and Norway (at 36%) than it is in Canada (at 15%).
There are no fewer ‘never smokers’ in Sweden than in Canada.
been equally able to protect its population from the onset of smoking as Sweden.
It has also protected them from addiction to smokeless tobacco.
Canadian smokers have been more successful at quitting than their
Swedish men—even though snus is widely available and accepted as a smoking
alternative — have had less success in quitting than Canadian men, on a
population level. Canadian women have been more successful in quitting than
years, Sweden has made much slower progress than Canada in reducing the amount
of tobacco consumed.
Sweden, Canada is experiencing a decline in per capita consumption in all forms
of tobacco. Sweden is one of the few developed countries where total tobacco
consumption is not falling.
lower rates of mortality from smoking than Canada, but is making slower
Canada—without snus use—is making faster progress against smoking related deaths
among both men and women — than Sweden is.
success is more likely due to early tobacco control laws and programmes than to
the use of snus as an ‘alternative’ to smoking.
one of the first countries to adopt comprehensive tobacco control measures, well
before Canada or other countries. During the 1960s and 1970s, Swedes were not
exposed to cigarette advertising on television or radio, as most Swedish
broadcasts did not have any commercial advertising.
marketing was severely reduced after a 1971 court action, and was legally banned
in many venues in 1979. By 1987 (when a single voluntary Canadian warning still
advised smokers to ‘avoid inhaling’), Swedish cigarette packages displayed 1 of
13 large rotating health warning messages. Five of these messages were about
second hand smoke.
Swedish efforts to implement tobacco control measures arguably
faced less industry resistance than did Canadian efforts because the Swedish
government owned and controlled the largest tobacco company until the early
1990s, Sweden has undergone policy reversals. After joining the European Union,
the number of and size of warnings was reduced. Following privatization of
Swedish Match, tobacco companies now market more aggressively. Sweden currently
is making slower progress in reducing tobacco use than Canada.
For our full
Lessons from Norway, Sweden and Canada on the public health consequences of
widespread oral tobacco use.
Sweden's health warning
message on cigarettes, ca. 1987